When one first hears about the circumstances surrounding Entle Dambuza’s case, there is an automatic sense of disbelief. Not in the veracity of her claims but in the way in which it happened.
I meet Entle at her home, west of Johannesburg, where we unpack what happened, what she went through following the rape as well as what it has taught her in the years since.
“The story is, I was dreaming that Chris Brown was coming for me from America. I’ve had the biggest crush on Chris Brown forever and he was coming from America [in the dream] and he was like ‘oh my gosh, I’m so happy to see you and I love you and I want us to go away together’ and then we start making out. And then the clothes come off... In reality, hey! It’s a great dream. I mean it’s Chris Brown but as he penetrates me in the dream, it happens in real life…”
As explained in a previous article, Entle had just come home and had passed an unknown gentleman who was standing at the entrance of the gate of her apartment building. Because apartment building have such high volumes of people going in and out, she didn’t think much of it.
She was living with a roommate at the time with whom she shared a bed and while they were laying in bed, her roommate got a phone call and left while Entle was asleep. And as mentioned above, she was woken up by the perpetrator.
“Now looking at where I currently am in my spiritual journey I would have woken up realizing that first of all, I don’t know Chris Brown and secondly, God doesn’t give you unvirtuous dreams. So I’m not married to Chris Brown, why are we about to have sex? Then I would have woken up and caught the guy while he was still walking in or whatever...”
She says she has since become more spiritually inclined and now sees that the dream was a warning in disguise.
“But for me, that shows that he [God] loves me. The fact that he tried to warn me and it was a very deep warning. And the guy looks like Chris Brown, I’m not even kidding.”
What Entle does not appreciate however, is having her version of events tied to the fact that this happened around the time of Chris Brown’s X Tour because she just so happened to have a dream while he was set to make his way here. She wants the narrative to move away from that and focus instead on the importance of what it means to survive a rape and what lessons can be learned to ensure that you stay alive through the healing process and what has actually happened.
“In South Africa, when you have been raped, the onus is on you to prove that you were, not for the perpetrator to prove that he didn’t,” she begins. Explaining that she is currently writing a booklet on how to be raped in Africa. “The rape is not just the penetration or the act but you would be shocked at the scarring after the fact from family, from the justice system…” she adds.
“What I’m saying is ‘please take the journey to heal, you need to heal.’ Because it doesn’t matter, this guy could get castrated if we’re in another country, or he goes to prison, it doesn’t matter. The healing is so important for you as a person”
It wasn’t easy for Entle to get to this space as she adopted a lot of coping mechanisms after her worst fear came true.
“I actually always laugh because it used to be my greatest fear and everyone knew. It wasn’t snakes, it wasn’t dying. It was always ‘if I got raped, I would die. Like I would literally die’ so then, when it happened, I was literally like ‘oh… now what?’ The worst had literally happened.”
In addition to her worst fear coming true, she had to deal with a lot that she wasn’t prepared for in her pursuit of justice.
"My rudest awakening was calling 10111 and the lady on the line being rude. Like, SO rude. And she says to me that I need to calm down and that I am not the first person to be raped and that the cops are busy. My mind was so blown. It was 6 in the morning and here I am trying to explain what this man had done to me, I mean, I was sleeping and then I was woken up by penetration. Literally, as simple as that and I was like ‘what?’ and she drops the phone in my ear.”
As part of the protocol with call centres, the operator had to introduce herself prior to the call and Entle had remembered her name. She then contacted the department to report her misconduct which resulted in the operator being dismissed from her position.
Entle now wants to use her experience and knowledge to help others who may find themselves in the same position.
“I really do pray that I become an advocate for healing so that the story stops being typical and I think that’s why I am very abrupt and very course in how I speak about it because it’s an abrupt act. We like to make it sweet and cute and soft and gentle and it isn’t. It’s the ultimate intrusion,” she said.
Before adding, “the after-effects. You know I saw him everywhere I went and he wasn’t really there obviously… I almost crashed my car because I saw him in my rearview mirror, in the car next to me, in the lift, everywhere...”
Entle would like to open a centre by survivors for survivors so that people who know what it’s like are the ones helping those that it has just happened to.
“No rape is the same. Obviously, but at least if you have someone who wants to really know how you are as opposed to someone who is unbothered and treats you as another statistic"
She also says she went through a mix of anger and disappointment at the lack of sympathy and the victim- blaming she got from certain family members and past employers who texted her “we know you’ve just gone through something tough but please hurry up and get over it.”
“They were around my age, maybe a year or two older than me and we used to fast and pray together and I was never ready for it [the response] but that for me was just… wow. That was the final straw and then they fired me...”
Entle says despite it all, she managed to find God amidst the rape ordeal and the events that followed.
“I’ve become a woman of God and I understand my prophetic mantle so much more because of it. My biggest takeaway from all of this is that there literally is God everywhere. It’s either you get it or you don’t.”
She has since been invited to speak at a few ministries and she has zoned in on a few topics that she wants to speak about without necessarily making sexual assault the focal point. She also wants to venture into focusing more on her spiritual gifts as a pastor or prophetess with a return to TV down the line.
Main image credit: Supplied