Award-winning gospel musician Lebo Sekgobela, 33, forms part of that statistic. “I got raped at a very young age. I was six and it was one of my sister’s friends. The second time it happened it was one of our neighbours. I went through that, but I’m a strong woman now. I received my healing through God’s love when I was older, because when I was young I couldn’t tell anyone,” says Sekgobela. Reading stories of rape survivors made her understand she is not the only survivor.
“Reading an article about someone who went through it, or when you see men, then you would be afraid. You would say: ‘What if this one would do the same thing?’ You would be afraid to go to the shop or walk alone. But when you are older, you are able to tell others – your kids, your neighbour’s kids and the community – somebody needs to be aware of certain things and if you went through it, it doesn’t mean that you are dirty and you deserved it. You were a victim of that.”
She says being raped takes away one’s self-respect – victims think less of themselves and lose their self-confidence. Sekgobela says the incidents made her love kids and want to look after them. The early traumatic incidents did not deter the then-youngster from sharing her angelic voice with others. She started singing at church and school when she was between the ages of eight and 11.
“I did not take it seriously then because it was just a thing – you have a voice. But from the moment I was born again, it had a meaning and it was why I sang gospel. I could relate to the music and the message of the songs I sang in church – and this had a different meaning than just singing to or worshipping God.”
Sekgobela is married to Lucky Sekgobela, 42, and they are blessed with three kids. Apart from singing gospel, she has worked as PA for one of South Africa’s famous evangelists. and won the Crown Gospel award for community outreach programme. Sekgobela spends most of her time with the needy, including people with disabilities.