Cindy Mzobe has gone through more pain than most people ever have to live through in one lifetime.
But the 31-year-old mom from Durban says she has come out of it stronger. She now commits her life to helping victims of rape and sexual violence.
This is her story:
"I was born to an Indian mother and a black father, so growing up in a country still recovering from apartheid I was often subject to much discrimination. Growing up I had to fight for my place in the world. It took me a long time to finally get confidence and make it through high school as a top achiever and a woman who is content with who she is.
When I was 23 and just beginning my life, I got into a taxi in Ndwedwe with a few of my friends. In the taxi were six men and a woman. While the taxi was in motion, the men threw my friends out and I was the only one left. They drove for approximately an hour before pulling over. They forced me out of the vehicle and began assaulting me whilst removing my clothes. They took turns raping me and left me half naked on the roadside. They left me to die near a bush.
It was very hard for me, I felt like I had lost my value. I was the eldest at home. I had to take care of my siblings and at this time I only thought of them more than anyone else.
In my community getting raped was seen as an embarrassment no one wanted to talk about it or let alone help me. I had to deal with it alone. Fortunately, I was able to do my research and take the treatment against HIV and I wasn't infected.
A few years later I met my loving husband, Pastor Nkosingphile Charles Mzobe. Meeting him was a great miracle and blessing to me. He was preaching in a crusade and I went there drunk because I thought drinking was going to help me deal with my problems. But as he was preaching, I was touched by the word and received salvation.
Three years later he proposed to me and we got married. He helped me throughout the healing process of my past. He has been very supportive.
When I was 27 and pregnant with my first daughter. Around the same time, I was asked to do a television interview and I was so excited to share my story and potentially help others who went through the same as me. The evening before the interview I was walking with my cousin to nearby shops and when we were returning home, we were followed by a man who then threatened us with a gun and took us to a nearby deserted bush. He then proceeded to assault us and rape us both, starting with my cousin, before going away with all our belongings and leaving us there.
This was the most traumatic event of my life. I could tell I felt pain more than the first incident of rape. I was a strong believer, devoted Christian. I was strong in prayer and had come to the Lord knowing he is my refuge and protection which is why I had never thought such an incident could happen to me again.
I struggled with this and it was fighting against my faith.
After going through the worst pain in my life and receiving comfort from family I finally came to a point where I realised that after these two incidents of rape in my life I had to use it for something good. I was tired of having a pity party. I then came up with Natakhon South African Youth Organization, an NPO, aimed at taking cake of vulnerable children and protecting them from abuse and neglect.
Natakhon travels all over with programs against rape, drugs and teenage pregnancy. I am a non-profit organisation and have not received any support yet. I have been running through the help of my husband. He is a full-time Pastor at Marashanta International Ministry.
Although I had never attended counseling, through my faith I just forgave those men who had wronged me even though it was not easy and it took a long time and while doing so God intervened. One of the perpetrators from my first rape went to the police station and handed himself in. They were sentenced to 24 years in prison
After all this pain I have realized that I am alive, I survived and God had given me a way to turn my pain into a message of hope for other people.
My message to every abused woman is forgiveness holds the key to happiness. Just let go and trust God. It is very painful but we can't hold on forever. We need to heal for us to live and I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it wasn't for my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ I wouldn't have made it.????"
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