A man is convicted of repeatedly raping his child bride.

Charles O’Rear, Getty Images

  • A teenager from KwaZulu-Natal had to endure months of torture after being sold to a 57-year-old man from their church.
  • A man was allowed to have a fictitious marriage “got his way” with the teenager and after the union was established, tortured and repeatedly raped her.
  • She tried to commit suicide twice after suffering mental and physical injuries.

A 57-year-old man who married a KwaZulu-Natal teenager from his church in 2019 and subsequently tortured and repeatedly raped her has been jailed for life.

Greytown Regional Court found Zahele Ndlovu guilty and sentenced him to life in prison for rape, sexual assault and kidnapping on Monday after hearing the ordeal the teenager endured between February and July 2019, police said on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old was living with her aunt when she was forced to marry Ndlovu, who was a member of the church she attended.

The aunt and the church elders agreed to a so-called marriage, with the aunt accepting payment for the arrangement.

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“She allowed the man to come to her house and talk to the girl and when the girl complained, she was reminded that she traditionally belonged to the man,” said police spokesman Tenjiswa Ngcoba.

After her concerns were not heard, she tried to kill herself twice.

Realizing that she would not be able to run away, the teenager, whose parents had died a long time ago, decided to run away from her aunt’s house.

Ndlovu, however, would have none of it.

“He hired two men to track down his victim, she was captured and taken to the defendant’s home in Greytown, where she was to continue her marital duties.

“He tried to rape her and she fought back. When he realized that it would not be easy to defeat her, she was taken to Matimatal [in KZN] where she was handcuffed and repeatedly raped,” said Ngcoba.

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The teenager was kept in a room for months. The local community became suspicious when they heard her crying whenever Ndlovu was at home.

“The police were alerted and they responded quickly. The girl was rescued and charged with rape, sexual assault and kidnapping. The case was investigated by the Greytown Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit,” said Ngcoba.

She added that Ndlovu “became unpredictable and tried by all means to evade arrest.”

However, on August 6, 2019, he surrendered to the police.

“During the trial, he claimed to be insane, which could not be confirmed in a mental institution. He appeared in court several times before he was sentenced to life in prison for rape, 12 years for sexual assault and an additional five years for kidnapping,” Ngcoba said.


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