“Whilst driving my son to school one of these recent mornings, he broke down crying and shared a heart-wrenching story with me.
“He told me how one afternoon not too long ago, whilst my two kids were with their father (Sisanda Henna), their father suddenly told him to get out of the house because he needed to speak to his brother. He did as he was told. While roaming the corridors, he spotted two armed policemen entering the flat,” says Bonnie Mbuli.
Bonnie Mbuli has alleged that the matter traumatized her children.
“When he returned, he asked his brother what had happened. His brother was too traumatized to talk about it. My children’s father had called the police to intimidate my ten-year-old son for a silly fight with his older brother that had happened days earlier.
“I immediately called a close friend of mine who has a strong relationship with my youngest son (the ten-year-old). I tend to react emotionally in these moments and I thought she could more calmly discuss the matter with him, in an environment and manner that would be safe for him,” says Bonnie Mbuli.
Upon calling her close friend, Bonnie Mbuli says that the boys were with their dad’s girlfriend, they had a fight, a normal occurrence between siblings. During the fight, her younger son pulled out a fork in the kitchen and playfully threatened his older brother with it.
“The girlfriend reprimanded him. He apologized to his brother and told him it was wrong of him to have done that and felt very remorseful. This sort of play is not accepted in our household. His brother forgave him.
“Days later, after asking our eldest son to leave the apartment, my kids’ dad cornered our ten-year-old and told him he had called the police. My son said he ran to the bedroom terrified, locked the door, and packed his clothes, looking for a rope to tie around himself so he could jump out of the window from the 4th floor and run away. How terrified and traumatized he must have been? It breaks my heart just thinking about it,” says Bonnie Mbuli.
Bonnie Mbuli says that soon after two armed policemen arrived in a police van. With Sisanda Henna in the room, they told the 10-year-old that if he were to behave that way again, he would be locked up in prison for two nights on his own, and thereafter he would be arrested in a juvenile prison.
“Three adults, two of whom were law enforcement agents, ganging up on a 10-year-old child to intimidate and frighten him needlessly. My youngest son has no history of violence or anti-social behavior.
“What psychological and emotional devastation he must have gone through? My heart froze when I heard all this. Was there no sane, rational adult in the room who realized that this was extreme? Even abusing state resources in order to traumatize a child! Surely, the cops should be out there apprehending real criminals, not traumatizing a ten-year-old child, as part of some sick, vindictive parental disciplinary attempt,” says Bonnie Mbuli.
Bonnie Mbuli says that she’s in the process of getting professional help for her two boys to process what happened.
“I’m in the process of getting professional help for them to process what happened. The ten-year-old told me he was grateful that his older brother had told me what had happened because he thought he deserved what had happened to him.
“He no longer trusts his father (Sisanda Henna), and unfortunately, as he is adopted, the father has created a pattern of dismissive and careless treatment toward our youngest son.
“The presence of armed police and the threat of imprisonment, organized by the father, for an uncharacteristic mistake, was disproportionate and frankly abusive.
“However, in this country, such behavior has been normalized. I am concerned that my son may not know what else he could do that may warrant this kind of punishment from his father and as a result, he may one day do something terrible to himself in an attempt to avoid that,” says Bonnie Mbuli.
Bonnie Mbuli says that both her children are very traumatized by this incident.
“As a mother, I am mortified that my children were subjected to this. This extreme behavior has no recourse in South Africa. This is not the first time he (Sisanda Henna) has used state resources to intimidate even me into silence about his ‘rights’ to our children.
“I recall an earlier incident where he (Sisanda Henna) opened a false case of abduction against me despite me being noted as the boy’s primary home in our divorce settlement, I had to spend so much money and time proving my innocence. I am taking the necessary legal measures to urgently help resolve this matter, with all its implications for my kids,” says Bonnie Mbuli.
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