Nopinky Mafusini, Survivor of Human Trafficking (Part 2)

In today’s episode, we have the privilege of welcoming back Nopinky, a courageous survivor of human trafficking.
Before Nopinky’s harrowing ordeal, she led a life that, like many others, was marked by circumstances that made her vulnerable to exploitation. Nopinky’s journey will take us through the struggles she endured before and after her trafficking experience. We will gain insight into the relational challenges she faced as she embarked on the arduous task of rebuilding her life from the shattered pieces left behind.

By listening to Nopinky’s powerful story, we aim to deepen our understanding of the profound impact of human trafficking. It is crucial for us to recognize the significance of supporting survivors as they navigate the difficult path towards healing and restoration.

Join us as we honor Nopinky’s bravery and resilience, as she shares her experiences and sheds light on the realities of human trafficking. Through her story, we hope to inspire compassion, ignite awareness, and ignite a collective call to action to combat this heinous crime.

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Nopinky Interview Part 2 

Hello friends and colleagues, Welcome back to our Free To Fly podcasts. Free To Fly is a faith-based organization working against Human Trafficking. In our first episode we had the privilege of hearing from Nopinky about her life before she was trafficked and the factors that may have made her vulnerable to human trafficking today, we are honoured to have Nopinky back with us to share her experiences after her trafficking ordeal. We will hear about the struggles and relational challenges that many trafficked survivors face as they try to rebuild their lives. By listening to Nopinky’s story we hope to deepen our understanding of the impact of human trafficking and the importance of supporting survivors. Thank you for joining us for this important conversation.


NR:  Nopinky, welcome again to today’s recording. I know the last time we ended off you were sharing a story about an uncle, – or, someone who was living with you guys. Would you like to just unpack that with us, share that with us.

NM: First of all I just want to say thank you so much once again for your invite. It’s always a joy for me to share so than other people they can know and they can be aware that human trafficking is real and it can happen under their nose. This guy, he was an older guy, I can say that he was in the age of my uncle. He started to invite me in his room, because every time when I’m hungry, I go to him and ask him for food. And then this particular day he invite me in, in his room, and then he was watching something. While he was watching something, me I was thinking that I was gonna come, I’m coming to collect the plates because sometimes I’m washing the dishes for him. Not knowing that behind my back he was shutting the door, and then he was like “come sit down” and then I said “okay”. But when I was looking around and then I was looking to the television, then there was this porn that was playing in the television. And the I stood and I said, “No I’m not comfortable, I’m not comfortable to be here”. I tried to open the door, he was like, ‘Ok, ok, I’m gonna change it”. I said, “No its fine don’t change it for me but I’m gonna go out”

NR: How old were you Nopinky?

NM: If I’m not mistaken, I was still in the primary school.

NR: Very young

NM: I was still young. I was very young. I can’t remember now which age that I was, – maybe around twelve, maybe thirteen, or fourteen, I could be fourteen. And then this uncle used to give my grandmother lot of alcohol. For me to see that thing that I saw – I knew exactly even if I go to tell my grandmother, my grandmother will buy the side of this uncle, because he’s doing much for us:  he’s providing the food for us. I already see the bond that they have with my grandmother my story won’t matter nothing. But the thing it was bothering me so I decided to tell  my grandmother that I don’t want to enter to that room, and then my grandmother was like “No you are gonna enter to that room”. I say, ‘No I am not comfortable granny” and then I let it slide.

NR: So how long after that did this ‘uncle’ – ‘border’ stay with you guys after that?

NM: For quite some time, for quite some time Natalie – I think he stayed for 5 years if I’m not mistaken.

NR: So it was a long time.

NM: Yes, very long time.

NR: And for all this time you didn’t share with your grandmother because you were scared that she would not believe you? I’m so glad that you shared this with, because I think that the plight for many people living in a house with an abuser, or an abuser close by, is that – they are so afraid to tell an elderly person, or the people that they trust, that there is abuse – or potential abuse happening because, the abuser in this case, was providing for the family in terms of food and giving your grandmother alcohol – and she was probably an addict. And so to have her addiction being provided for by your uncle is something far more important.   As an addict, you so self-focused and you don’t actually look at what’s happening around you. Not even looking for your care or what’s happening to your cousins that where there, living there at the same time. So thank you for sharing that, because we need to uncover and speak, open the ears, uncover these kind of things.

NM: Now when I think about it I say you know what I really this particular story – yes I know the whole story of mine it can make a huge impact but this particular story some other people are going through the similar thing that I went through because you get those people that really they provide and now you become a victim in your house because your voice doesn’t matter.

NR: That is the power of sharing story is that your voice will be heard and hopefully by your voice being heard we change the future for those that are being abused. To prevent that and that’s sharing stories. So, I really thank you for sharing your story, Nopinky.

NM: Thank you so much Natalie.

NR: After this when your uncle, you grew up, so he was still staying with you.

NM: Yes.

NR: You then shared with me that at one point you were raped by someone in the community.

NR: I did mention that I was pursuing to be, like to become a model, and yes I went to the class of modelling and everything it went well I was flourishing in that platform. So this particular day, I was going somewhere and then this guy. Oh no no no, I was dating my boyfriend, so while we were walking me and my boyfriend just taking the stroll we went to another place. We didn’t know that we are followed by the, how can I call, the boys of this boy (gangster). And this boy he always harass me on the street and telling me that, ‘you are my girlfriend’. Because he get me off guard I get so terrified. I just freezes my brain, my everything like just freezes because am so scared of them. So he keep on telling me that every time that he saw me and then he let me go or maybe I would run away out of his present. This particular day, he make sure that he will make his boys to smoked and then to follow me wherever that am going. I was going to visit my other aunt then that’s when his boys came and just check the coast and then after that him himself he came because I saw the boys and the I say oh no never mind. I don’t want to be paranoid right now – I thought I am walking with someone because this person doesn’t know anything about this, let me not be paranoid. Little did I know I saw him and then he say didn’t say nothing to me, he just showed me the weapon, the gun and then he say, ‘follow me’.   So, I can imagine for the boy that I was walking with he was so paranoid, he was so terrified, he was scared, I can mention all of that because he was a young boy and this person is a grown up person and his full of tattoos, his walking naked, his now walking naked but his walking like short sleeved shirt so you can see the tattoos. And then he showed me the weapon and then from there he say let me follow him. I follow him with fear. Was almost like I don’t know what was holding my bladder I was so scared I was super scared just for me to see the gun. My brain as well just freezes. The young girl inside of me was crying for help, but the voice was heard. I was trying to make the signs to everyone – even to the taxi driver, but no-one notices that this girl is in danger. I was like I’m gonna die. This person is gonna rape me and whatever that he is going to do and then his gonna kill me in the spot. And without anyone knowing that where I am. We went to his place it was a shack house; he told me that I must pull my panty down. He shut the door – with lots of  irons (bolts/locks). He didn’t even say nothing – just do the deed, he just raped me. After that immediately he fell asleep. The weapon was next to me and I didn’t know what to do with this weapon – must I point it to him or must I take it with me? I was so scared. I say you know what I’m not  gonna touch this weapon and it was wise of me, because I don’t know how many people that they kill with that weapon. So I didn’t see this boy for so many months. I didn’t hear nothing about him. I go back to my home. And I was so terrified, I was so devastated, I was shivering. Life moves on: I didn’t know I was pregnant with the baby of this boy.

NR: So, Nopinky, when you say life goes on – did you not tell your grandmother – or anybody that you had been raped.

NM: I did. I did tell my cousin, my cousin they didn’t believe me. As I was saying to you I even tell my grandmother this is what happened. My grandmother it was hard for her to believe it. I don’t know why. So then I kept it to myself – I didn’t go to the police because my family put me down not want to believe the story that I’m telling them.

NR: How did that make you feel? Did it make you feel like you couldn’t trust your own feelings or yourself. How did you feel anyway the fact that your cousins and your grandmother didn’t believe you.

NM: My cousins keep on saying that I was dating this boy. I keep on saying that I was not dating this boy – how come I can date such a person. How come you can you think such a thing about me? So the talk will end up to be argument at the end of the day. For me to avoid the argument, I would say it’s fine I will keep it to myself. Not knowing that I have a baby inside of me. But I was voicing out to them what happened to me. My grandmother didn’t even say a word because I was keep on telling  my grandmother that me don’t want to go on that road I was even scared to go to the school because those boy they are always standing there  in that corner so I’m scared. My grandmother didn’t even bother to ask me what makes you scared. So it kind of like break me. So I was knowing that I’m all alone in this journey of life, because if my family can’t believe me, how much more people that they are outsiders. That’s when I found out I am pregnant in 8 months. I found out that I am pregnant the child of this boy. On top of that my grandmother asked me, ‘who is the father of the baby?’ I was calling my grandmother Mummy – I say Mummy, but I’ve told you before this and this happened to me.’  So, I am don’t know – I can’t think straight right now. I have a lots of things I am facing pregnancy in the teenage age and now I don’t know who’s the father of my baby. That makes me to be traumatised more. I am schooling, I’m not gonna finish my studies – a lot of things, – my career, my everything. This person has ripped me everything; everything that belongs to me: my virginity, my identity, my dignity, my everything. He has ripped me, he has taken everything from me. So my brain frozen. You know I want to survive is that I can to make other things slide, to not think about them so much because it’s heart breaking and I can’t fix it anymore – the damage is here. So my brain is like the brain of a survivor. I want to survive.

NR: Your grandmother was asking you who the father of the baby was.

NM: Yes. I keep on saying that but granny I did say to you this incident has happened to me and you didn’t want to believe me, so I don’t know who is the father of my baby. Funny enough, they were choosing all the boys around the town that they can think that they did this damage to me. And I was sitting there, and thinking to myself everything it’s about the benefit to them. Your story doesn’t matter – your voice doesn’t matter. If they could sit me down or they could believe what I told them at least something would make sense to them. Anyway, I keep on saying I don’t know the baby of my father of which I didn’t know the father of my baby. My brain is in survivor moment. I don’t know how to think straight  –  a lot of things has happened in this period of time so I was like my brain, if I can put it that was, was shut. Nopinky you can just focus in this now.

NR: How old were you? So now you’re giving birth and how old were you?

NM: That one I know from the fact, I was 15 years old.

NR: That’s very young.

NM: I have my first born in the age of 16.

NR: You’re a young mommy. So you gave birth now did you live with your grandmother?

NM: Natalie – you’re talking about being a young mommy I don’t know how to be a mother because I still want to be mothered.

NR: Yes, such a valid point.

NM: You are talking about something that is huge. Me I was like if this baby is crying I am crying with this baby. Every time that this baby is crying and then I’m looking to this baby I say whoever does this to me has robbed me because first of all, what you were saying, I was such a young mommy in the age of 16. I don’t know how to be a mother, so I didn’t give what this baby wanted. I didn’t have everything required.

NR: You didn’t have the capacity.

NM: Exactly. But the baby was born, baby boy. I only found out the time my legs was giving me problems because I keep on thinking that I’m gaining weight and it is not good for my career because I want to become a model. So I know that models they are thin – so maybe I’m  eating too much. I didn’t know that I have something in my stomach – I was not educated in that area. Until my legs tell me ‘whoa stop this baby is now complaining like you are killing me’ of which I was killing him not knowing that I’m killing him. Because I was putting all those figure belts, trying to eat those diets whatever that is good for my tummy, like whatever that I think is good for my body. Not thinking that I have second

NR: Second person you are feeding.

NM: Yes, exactly. But by the grace of the Lord, God kept the baby safely in my womb until I discovered that my due month is gonna be next month. So it was, I was having those sore legs swollen in eight months. The doctors they started to be on my case. And then I’m still young – I don’t understand – I don’t believe it that I’m carrying a baby inside of me. They traumatizing me worse and worse – I don’t know where this baby is belonging. I was thinking all the Bible stories: maybe the Holy Spirit came over me (laughs). Natalie, I’m so serious –  my brain freezes until I believe in those kind of stories.

NR: Yes. That’s what trauma does. You and I have spoken about trauma: and because you were 16 at the time and because you weren’t mothered and educated on what pregnancy looks like and that you could fall pregnant from being raped, – because of those things, it was natural, being traumatised, when your brain goes into freeze mode and you froze, you literally froze the memory. It was natural for you to feel the way you were feeling, or to start of believe what you were believing – you said that you were believing, or you thought that maybe it was a divine intervention or something else had happened. So I totally understand that.

NM: I knew that I was not sleeping with anyone in that age. But I was seeing someone, but we didn’t have something a huge that would lead us in that direction. So, I knew that there’s something that doesn’t make sense here, but my brain doesn’t allow me to think proper.  

Until, the mother of the boy came to my house, no no no, they saw me on the street. I was attending the clinic now with my boy. They were just staying opposite to the clinic and they saw me wrapping my boy and I was going to my home and stopped me in the middle of the road, and then they asked me, “Nopinky can we steal one moment of your time?”

I said, “yes of course, ja you can.”

Because there’s a lot of rumours now that they are trending about this baby. Like some older womans they came, they will come to my house they want to view the baby – (I still thought) ‘I didn’t have intercourse with anyone.’ But, you know what, if this person that I can think proper: I can think proper about the incident, I can know exactly. So I know that all those people, all those mothers that they came, that coming to my house is not true. And from the fact that my family they were part of it, it traumatize me more. They don’t give me a chance of thinking proper because now I’m traumatized more and more.  Because my family now they are kind of like jeopardizing me, confusing me but anyway. Until there was this; they stopped me in the middle of the road.

And then they say, “Please can we see your baby.”

I say, “Why?”

They say, “No, our son just came from prison so he said that he left you pregnant. Without you knowing.”

You know what immediately Natalie, immediately something made, it made sense. Like it clicks. Oh my goodness it was this boy. It was this man, because he it was a grown, he was much old. Me, I’m still 15 years that time. Him, maybe he was around 20s. I say its this man. And so was thinking I want to see him face to face and ask him why did you do that. The parents they invite me inside because now they are excited to see the baby before the procedure will be done. You know the older people because the mother, he was the one who was like please can we see your baby. And then they say, “This is our baby.” Immediately Natalie, my brain came back! My memory came back! It was him.

NR: How did that moment feel for you?

NM: I really don’t know:  I was so shocked, I didn’t know how to feel about it. If I must rejoice because the father of the baby is found but I’m still left with scars that they will be forever.  So those scars now they started to be like bleeding inside of me.

NR: Reawakening the trauma.

NM: {long sigh}. I’m trying to stop myself. It was sad for me, I had to be here for this young boy that he doesn’t know what is happening.  They say “ Ja this is our baby.” So Natalie I, really my sister until today I don’t know how did I feel at that moment. Because they could see that this girl is immature, very young, probably he was schooling while the boy he did this to her. So they Offer me, like the mother said, he sit me down and then they were rejoicing. In my mind I’m like ‘why are you rejoicing if I can tell you what did your boy do to me I don’t think that you can rejoice.’ Until today they don’t know what happened. Until today

NR: Wow. So you share with them that he actually raped you.

NM: No Natalie. I never had that courage.

NR: Just to understand, if I may, did you not share with them because you were afraid they wouldn’t believe you like your grandmother and cousin didn’t believe you? Is that why you never shared?

NM: No because I didn’t have to explain myself to them ever since the boy didn’t want to take the responsibility – because he was not showing in that room. They were hiding him. If they were genuine people they could say – come out and explain yourself, – how did it happen?   I felt that there was something supposed to be done, the justice that was supposed to be done here. And yet there was nothing. So I told myself I am not going to explain myself:  this boy he knows the guilt conscience is gonna eat him and then he is gonna tell the parents. Me now, I am in the moment of like what’s next now. Because I’m the one who’s facing all those traumas. The boy just plant the seed and then he vanishes with his name. And then he came after the baby is already in the world. I was thinking to myself no man, I didn’t have any guts Natalie, – I was like as I was saying to you my mind was just thinking about the next step. Okay, Nopinky, how do you go forward now? They offer you to look after the baby if you want to go to school – so what is in your mind now? And I’m going to face my family – my family that they couldn’t believe me, I’m  gonna still remain them on top of that. You see what I am going through? Even then, they didn’t come to me and say we apologise. We didn’t know you were trying to tell us the truth. We ignore you.  So in another words, your voice voice was not mattered that time. Ok, I still love them, I still love them. I know that I gonna stick with them for the rest of my life. I dunno until when but I must love, I must forgive them for the sake of me going ahead and moving on with my life. Yet, I didn’t know anything about the truth about those things like if you forgive the people that they hurt you in your past . My brain was just telling me those things like Nopinky the best way is that you can forgive them so that you can move on with your life. And I did that. So God was in it.

NR: Already back then. That’s beautiful.

NM: Exactly. So I continue with my school and then my career as well because I knew that this is what I want to do for me to survive. I still want to make this grandmother (her grandmother) to be proud regardless of what has happened. I pushed through and I pushed through – but I couldn’t focus fully. So that’s what happened until my brain started to rebellious now didn’t want to function like the way I was functioning. I think I didn’t deal with the trauma in the good way. So, I saw myself dating another boy and then I was in the relationship that was very toxic and it was not healthy, but I loved this boy because he keep me safe, although I knew the love is not genuine. Because now I am taking this boy to protect me from the danger zone. But at the beginning I didn’t know that this love like I was into it, it was not a genuine love until certain things happened and I was like trying to push it away and ignoring it. Until I realise that this love is not a real love. But the damage was already there – I was having another baby – from this boy. I was in the high school that time with him and then I fall pregnant. The parents they didn’t approve our relationship at that moment. It kinda like  broke me. Because already I am damaged in my brain and then now I’m in this relationship where I’m not accepted. So I did what I could to earn their trust towards me. Jan neh I have seen it all.

NR: When you say you did what you could to earn their trust what are some of the things that you did?

NM: Natalie now I leave whatever that I am hoping for to become this girl to pretending as a housewife. His sister was younger, his sister was going to the creche so I have to take his younger sister to the creche, and then I must come and clean the house, and cook, and make sure all those kinds of things – the washing as well – all those kinds of things. I did all of that just to win their trust;  just for them to accept me for who I am – to see me as this person that I am. I did that out of my heart, yet there was no improvement.


NR: So it never helped – is that what you’re saying? You never won their trust. You were never accepted by them.

NM: No. I was not accepted. Until now, they realise like Nopinky was the best. But at the time they called me all kind of words that: that this person is old already because she already have a baby. I was even ashamed of sharing like I have a baby, in this age. Like oh my goodness how this person is gonna see me, is gonna view me. Until my friend told my ex-boyfriend, told this guy, I was having another baby. My ex was kinda mad at me like why I was hiding that I was have another baby. I say because of the situation I was under from your home, I was trying to protect us, not knowing that it’s gonna break you. I’m sorry, if you feel that I have done you wrong, I won’t see any reason for you to say let us not be together anymore. So I took the responsibility. The boy was like okay it is what it is – we have our own baby now, so we must focus on our own baby. Yet things they didn’t change –instead they get worse and worse. Until I say to myself – enough is enough.  I can take this far – I think  I’m fine now. So I broke the relationship, I didn’t think about what if there will be another boys that they will try to take chances. So I was like let me in the survival mode without anyone. That when I end up to have many friends and then I was introduced to drugs, alcohol, and I was clubbing.   Because Natalie, I hadn’t dealt with any of those traumas that I went through.  So I escaped from another and them I jumped to another one. Bad things, bad things. The doors that opened for me, they were doors that are so bad – I can just knock once and then the door will be opened.


Dear friends and key stakeholders, thank you for joining us on today’s podcast. Our aim and heart for these podcasts are to bring awareness on human trafficking. To highlight the atrocity this crime is to humanity. A reminder that human trafficking is a multi- billion Dollar industry, which is sadly the fastest growing worldwide and second biggest crime after drugs. It is far more organized than many care to believe.

Our aim of the podcasts is to bring clarity and understanding of what exactly what human trafficking is and how it impacts victims, survivors. We hope to highlight the roles of various stakeholders and how we can all be part of the solution and bringing an end to what we know as modern-day slavery.

We invite you to join hands in fighting against human trafficking, follow us on our social media pages: on Instagram and on Face Book, Do check our website out and sign up to be a volunteer or donate towards the building and running of our safe house for children who have come out of human trafficking. All details will be put in the link below or our last slide.

For those of you who do not know, Free To Fly, are an organization that is currently starting up one of the first safe houses for children who have been rescued from human trafficking in South Africa. We will be offering a home that will provide a space to heal, recover and be set up to be free to fly. Please follow our journey on our website.

Till next time, take care and be sure to share and listen out for the next podcast. Thanks friends!


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