Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, who has revealed through her “tell-all” book that she assaulted actress and Sarafina star Leleti Khumalo for allegedly being involved in an adulterous relationship with ex-hubby Mbongeni Ngema, says she is not proud of what she did.
But Nduneni-Ngema said while she has no problem with apologising to Khumalo, “she also needs to apologise to me for putting me in that situation”.
In her book titled Heart of a Strong Woman, which sold more than 500 copies in its first week, Nduneni-Ngema revealed that she was raped and physically and emotionally abused by her legendary playwright ex-husband. In the book, she further revealed that though she assaulted Khumalo, she's not a “violent person” by nature.
“I am not proud of what I did and I have said it in the book. I felt bad even when I was doing it. I was never brought up like that, I have never seen violence in my upbringing, my parents were loving towards each other and respectful,” she said.
Nduneni-Ngema explained that what she did to Khumalo when she was young was a result of the frustrating state she was in.
“I was in my early 20s, I was new in the marriage, no-one was guiding me about how you behave when your husband is kicking you. And this is a child who was under my care. It was a stressful period for me.”
She said if she had been mature enough she would have handled the situation differently. “If this happened at a different time, I would have spoken to her instead of resorting to violence because I was experiencing violence. I am not a violent person, I just walk away from [bad] situations.”
Khumalo refused to comment when approached by Sowetan yesterday saying "the matter is with my attorneys".
Though her alleged abuse happened more than 30 years ago, Nduneni-Ngema said she was still in a healing process.
“Sometimes you think you are healed but you find yourself there again. You see, Mbongeni used [to] sneak in when everyone is not looking and slap me for something I had done three days ago … Beating up somebody is not right, whether it is a man or woman.”
However, Ngema has denied the allegations that he assaulted and raped his ex-wife while they were married.
With the scourge of gender-based violence escalating in the country, Nduneni-Ngema said she encouraged women to speak out about their abuse.
Gender activist Makwena Manamela said it was unacceptable that a woman beat up another woman because she was involved with her husband. Manamela said women needed to come together against the perpetrators and support each other.
“When women fight over a man they are actually condoning what men do. More often than not women who would abuse other women are also victims of abuse. They were either abused by parents or a lover. Since they have experienced abuse they have normalised it,” Manamela said.