By Bruce Ndlovu
In happier times, Dumisani Mankunzini remembers when he and girlfriend Pamela Mthupha used to go on game drives and see wild game, when they used to kick up sand as they took leisurely strolls on the beach.
During those happy days, they used to love going on dates as a couple, going to fancy restaurants for choice meals made by elite chefs. On some days, when the mood was just right, the couple would cook their own food, filling their bellies with meals made with love.
Those were the happier times, when love and laughter filled their Johannesburg home, as Mankunzini enjoyed life with a woman he believed he was now ready to pay lobola for, making that often-feared leap from girlfriend to wife.
Those were the good days, those glorious days that now seem so distant, as his romantic fairytale has now turned into a full-blown nightmare. All is no longer well in the Mankunzini household. Heart-warming hugs have been replaced by bone-breaking punches and while the cricketer turned commentator might have expected a goodbye kiss blown his way when he left for work while their love bloomed, these days his departure is likely to be marked by a few sharp objects thrown his way.
The outspoken sportsman claims he has become a victim of gender-based violence at the hands of a woman who he claims has made his life a living hell. He claims to have the scars to show for it too.
“Pam is problematic. I don’t know what demon possesses her sometimes,” he told Sunday Life.
“If you hit a woman in South Africa, it is a big problem and the chances of you getting out after you have been arrested are very slim. So, with that being the case I can’t fight her. But the problem I face is that she attacks me. She throws irons, or any other weapon that she might find, my way. She fights and she fights a lot. As things stand my whole body has wounds because she will be biting me, throwing irons at me or hitting me with an electrical cord.”
Violence and jealousy, Mankunzini said had poisoned his relationship with Mthupha. As relations between them soured and trust declined, even an innocent text message could invite her wrath.
“She does all sorts of things. I was beaten up by people at a night club because of her then I lost my phone. That happened because of her. I bought another phone and she saw me writing a message saying ‘Unjani uBaby wami?’, and I was talking about my son Nkosana who is in Zimbabwe and she took the phone and smashed it on the floor.
“Three days later, I bought a phone for myself and her but she smashed it on the floor again. She also destroyed the couch that I had bought for our place and she destroyed other things in our home,” he said.
So bad have things been between the two that Mankunzini had to file a report at Booysens Police Station after a particularly violent encounter between the two. While a Sergeant MJ Motshweneng was assigned for that case, it has since been closed, with the SAPS saying it would reopen it when it has new leads. Mthupha, has since that day disappeared, taking with her property that Mankunzini claims to have bought for the couple.
“On the 29th of April at 16:00 when I was at my place, I informed my girlfriend that I was going to deposit money for my son who is in Zimbabwe,” Mankunzini wrote on his police statement. “She then stopped me by locking the door.
She then started assaulting me using fists and stones. She took a whisky bottle and then she broke three windows and she took suitcases with clothes worth R45 000.”
While he says he is fed up with the violence, the commentator has a greater fear as he says the woman, he once used to love, is suspected to be now holed up with some feared people. It is these shadowy figures that he claims are now threatening to extinguish his colourful life.
“I have resolved to leave but I want to do it slowly but surely because on some days she wakes up and says that she is sorry and won’t do it again but soon enough we find ourselves back in the same situation again. I now realise that she will get me killed soon because she has spoken very often about how she will get me killed. As things stand, I’m living in fear because I heard that the people that she is living with are dangerous. I have been receiving threatening phone calls from some men and I’m afraid that they might make an attempt on my life,” he said.
Although he said she loved to visit him at work when their love still burned bright, Mankunzini said he could not even find solace in that when she was in one of her moods.
“When I would leave the house, she would follow me wherever I go. She thought I was promiscuous and she would tail me whenever I set foot outside the house. Even at work, I have missed so many trips to places like Durban or Cape Town because whenever such assignments come around, she thinks I want to use the opportunity to be promiscuous. I have had to cancel those kind of assignments yet I’m doing everything for her because she doesn’t work,” he said.
As he tries to piece together his shattered heart and life, Mankunzini said it had been a tall order as he had become the object of ridicule instead of sympathy.
“I want people to know that Gender-Based Violence against men is real. When I tell people, whether that’s friends of any other people that I’m close to, they all laugh because they just don’t see how a man can be assaulted by a woman and let it happen. This is the reality of my situation and I really loved this woman but she has really put me through a lot and I want to go public with this because I really believe that my life could be in danger,” he said.
Efforts to get hold of Mthupha were fruitless. The Sunday News