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Story of Santi Britz

At the heart of the iDuc project is a story well worth telling; the story of Santi Britz : well-known, successful businesswoman, wife, mother of 6 in Potchefstroom, North-West Province, South Africa.

On January 21, 2009, at 7:20 in the morning, Santi was raped by a man off the streets in her own home in the lovely student town of Potchefstroom. Of course, what followed was nothing short of absolute chaos and emotional turmoil for Santi and her family.

In that time, a very close family friend came to Santi and, not knowing what to say or do, gave her a big, white, plastic duck with brightly coloured hearts all over it. I don’t think that Santi or the young lady herself really knew what the purpose of the duck was, but what they did know was that this was a gesture of heartfelt sympathy and the love of someone who felt helpless and who has come a long way with Santi and her family.

A year or two later, when Santi had gone through the process of dealing with and recovering from this traumatic event, she started counselling and supporting other rape victims, working with them one-on-one. She also started delivering motivational talks to women at churches, schools and functions across cities. One day, just as Santi was leaving to one of these functions, something told her to put the big hearty duck in the car. Nothing happened with the duck that day, but Santi left it in the car and only a few days later she received a phone call saying that someone was in need of her help. A lady was raped in one of the rural areas of Potchefstroom, with her little daughter (about 5 years old at the time) in the same room and had to watch the whole ordeal happened. Since then, the little girl had stopped talking.

Santi then knew why the hearty duck had to be in her car. She saw that little girl (Magdalene) that day and gave her the duck. She told her that it was okay not to want to talk to anyone and that she also didn’t feel like speaking to people after the horrible thing happened to her.

“But this duck is your friend, and you can tell this duck anything that you are feeling, because she can never hurt you and all she can do is listen to you.”

At that moment, little Magdalene began to talk. And a few months later, she testified in camera in court with the duck in her arms and the perpetrator was sentenced on the grounds of Magdalene’s testimony. What an absolute miracle! Magdalene and her duck have been inseparable ever since. It goes with her to school, to bed, to bath, and just about everywhere else. When asked if we could borrow the duck to take pictures, she took a black marker and wrote her name on it, just to make sure that she would get it back. Of course, it was returned to her immediately, and that dear mother had one very happy little girl!