Nokubonga Qampi became known as the “Lion Mama” in South Africa after she killed one of three men raping her daughter and wounded the others. She was charged with murder – but after a public outcry the prosecution was halted, and she was able to focus her efforts on her daughter’s recovery.
It was the middle of the night when the telephone call came, waking Nokubonga from her sleep.
The girl at the other end of the line was just 500m away – and she said Nokubonga’s daughter, Siphokazi, was being raped by three men they all knew well.
Nokubonga’s first response was to call the police, but there was no answer. She knew, anyway, that it would take them time to reach her village, in the rolling green and brown hills of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
She was the only person that could help.
“I was scared, but then I was forced to go because it was my daughter,” she said.
“I was thinking that when I get there, she might be dead… Because she knew the perpetrators, and because they knew her and knew she knows them, they might think they had to kill her so she couldn’t report them.”
Siphokazi had been visiting friends in a group of four small houses in the same village but had been left alone, asleep, when her friends went out at 01:30. Then three men who had been drinking in one of the other houses attacked her.