Three boys bolted from nowhere . . .

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Rape in a time of Covid-19

I hate the face mask. Each time I put it on the that ugly memory comes back, writes Nosipho (not her real name), a 12 year-old KZN learner.

I forgot my face mask at home. I realised this when I was just a few metres away from school. I decided not to take chances. I went back home to fetch a face mask, Little did I know what would happen to me! Three boys bolted from nowhere. I fear even to say it. They pulled my hand. Shouted insults at me. I cried for help, but, back luck. no one heard me. The boys raped me!

I lost many things that day. My dignity was lost. My virginity taken away and myself. I will never forget the day when I take away my mask off and throw it into a big fire and burn it completely. Rapists too should be thrown into a big fire and be burnt completely.  To my surprise my rapist had no masks. I wish my rapists could be jailed life in prison for committing an offence during a disaster time. That was very cruel!

The whole world should put the same measures against rape like it did with Covid-19. Rapists should be got rid of in just the same way we fight Coronavirus. That’s the future I want! No rapists! No Covid-19!!

The lockdown affected many people especially our parents. They lost their jobs and yet they had to buy so many things for us especially food and water. Homes turned into feeding pens. Our freedom was taken away.

When it all started I felt bad. It made me lonely and I did not feel free as usual. It was looking like into an abyss, a very deep hole that seems to have no bottom. And I hate the face mask. Each time I put it on the that ugly memory comes back. I hate a mask with passion.

In future I think many rules about such pandemics like Covid-19 should be carefully enforced. Yes, it is good to put on a face mask. It is good to sanitize our hands and everything we use. Social distance is also good somehow. It can protect people from other infections such as HIV and TB. And people should continue to sanitise their surroundings and  wash their hands regularly. This is good and hygienic.

Together we can fight the Coronavirus. Together we can overcome rapists. Together we can keep our environments clean and free from infections.

  • Editor’s note: Nosipho is not the young writer’s real name. Her alleged rape is being followed up by Roving Reporters as part of broader story on gender based violence, including the responsibilities of teachers and schools in dealing with incidents of this nature.

For adjudicators’ reference: Entrant  29_Nosipho



Image courtesy

After the Covid-19 pandemic, will everything return to how it was before – or will we change how we live in the future? Will we realise the need to make this world a better place, both for people and for nature?

These are the key questions in Roving Reporters’ journalism-themed writing project, Life After Covid-19 – The Future We Want, catering the school learners in South Africa from from Grade 7 upwards.

The competition forms part of a broader reporting project supported by Super Save and Media Development and Diversity Agency.

“We are encouraging high school children to document their experiences of the pandemic and reflect on how they would like to see the world change for the better,” said Roving Reporters director Fred Kockott. “Reflection is a first step to change, and this project gives learners a voice and an opportunity to have some agency in how their future unfolds.”

We plan to run the competition through to the end of the school year, with a top entry published every fortnight.

Schools that wish to submit entries should click here to access the entry forms and writing guide to share with learners who wish to take part.

We encourage schools to use the writing exercise in ways that fit in with the Life Sciences, Life Orientation and English curricula.

For further information contact Fred Kockott on 083 277 8907 or email

Now read: Poet’s take on life after Covid-19: “We fell asleep in one world and woke in another”