When she first appeared on Mzansi Magic’s channel 161 Saint and Sinners she played the role of a glamorous girl who only seemed to care about her looks.
A few episodes down the line, her character Phindi Khumalo was torn between the love of two men – filthy rich Gibson Mosia ( played by Tumiso Masha) and policeman Siya Malinga (Yonda Thomas). Then in the second season, the jealous and bitter Gibson abducted and s_exually abused Phindi. This was something too close to real life for the actress playing the part as painful real-life memories returned to haunt Nompilo Gwala.
The 29 year old actress reveals that she was a rape victim herself. She said she was raped twice – at the age of 6 and again when she was 18. ‘I could relate with Phindi because I understand her journey,’ Nompilo says. It took her many years to work out and admit that she was r_aped. The understanding came when she was watching an episode of Soul City in which a little girl was s_exually abused. ‘It is only then that I realised what had happened to me,’ she admits.
The former model says she had gone to buy a packet of chips when she was six and someone she knew r_aped her. ‘ We can try to protect our families from the outside forces but it’s the people we know and invite into our spaces that do this’ she says.
Her abused taunted her constantly and by the time she was 12, Nompilo couldn’t take it anymore. She had no one to turn to, so she attempted suicide by taking an overdose of medication. Fortunately the nurses at Steve Biko hospital were able to pump the drugs out of her system. Even then, she kept quiet about the r_ape.
The Benoni born beauty did everything in her power to protect herself form more abuse. However, when she was 18, her then boyfriend refused to take no for an answer. ‘I thought I ad done everything I could but I was r_aped by a man because he had taken me to a nice place for a date’ she reveals.
These days Nompilo is a strong woman with a positive outlook who can conquer her challenges. By speaking out, she says she hopes to help others.