Maverick Citizen


Rape survivor Prudence Mabasa – serving with love

Rape survivor Prudence Mabasa – serving with love
Prudence Mabasa (Photo: Thom Pierce The Actionists)

It’s Women’s Month in South Africa and so, throughout August, The Actionists will exclusively be featuring stories of inspiring women who are working to make a positive change in the world around them.

It’s fair to say that Prudence Mabasa lives her life in service. From the day she started to work she has focused her efforts on helping other people.

“I am passionate about victims, I need to be in a place where I can help.”

For three years Prudence volunteered in the victim-friendly room at the Brakpan police station in Ekurhuleni. This is a space that is legally required for victims of sexual violence to feel safe and heard in the initial period after the crime is committed. In reality, it does not function unless there is a volunteer present. Prudence took it upon herself to be that person.

She understood the emptiness, numbness, helplessness and anger on a whole different level.

At the same time she was also volunteering as a community chaplain, a similar role but one where she would be on call to visit those in the immediate aftermath of a crime or incident at home or at the scene of the crime.

“My faith is my drive but it is not a parameter to who I help.”

Prudence’s world was thrown upside down after she was raped in 2020. Having cared for others for years, she suddenly found herself the victim. A new level of understanding and determination grew out of her own horrific experience. She understood the emptiness, numbness, helplessness and anger on a whole different level.

A true legend lives out their legacy while they are still here and teaches others to do the same.

It was also through her own experience that she understood the secondary trauma of reporting the incident and the fight for justice that ensues. She could understand why so many people drop their cases after the effort it took just to get her rape kit tested, having initially been told that it was lost.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Housing campaigner Siyabonga Mahlangu takes the fight to dodgy landlords

Prudence now believes that engaging young people is the solution. She is passionate about creating programmes that deal with the behaviours and life circumstances that lead young men to turn to violence. She feels the young have been heavily let down by the government and that the lack of opportunities, jobs and education has pushed many of them towards a life of gangsterism and crime.

“A true legend lives out their legacy while they are still here and teaches others to do the same. What better way to love than to serve without expectation of reward.”

As well as a community chaplain Prudence is a youth minister, ACDP media liaison and community development coordinator. She may take on many roles but they all lead to a full life led in the service of others. DM

The Actionists was launched in early 2023 by photographer Thom Pierce. It consists of on-the-ground problem solvers, community activists, climate campaigners and human rights defenders who engage in direct action. They are people anyone can turn to in difficult circumstances: a growing community of people who care about the future of South Africa. Through a series of photographic stories, Pierce profiles these people. Through a website, discussion forum and social media, the aim is to provide ways for people to get involved.

Nominate Actionists in your circle at or email [email protected]


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