If I could, I would tell you a story of a brave unemployed Congolese woman who raised six children on her own. She was not fluent in any South African language. She beat cancer but it came back and took her to her grave. But that’s a story for another day, this is a story of her youngest daughter Awezae, one whom she not only left fatherless, but also emotionally disabled.

The death of her mother took a negative toll on Awezae. Day by day her hopes, dreams and ambitions of buying her mother a house, or anything she ever dreamt of, all came crumbling down to pieces as she realised she will never see her again. She would go to the balcony in the middle of the night, look at the stars and curse the heavens for giving her such a wonderful mother but taking her away just when she needed her the most. And with tears filled in her eyes, anger and hatred capturing her soul, she would say to herself, “For I am an orphan with a living father. There is no place on this earth made for such beings, how is that kind or merciful, oh God?”

All this she did in the middle of the night because she did not want to appear weak in the eyes of her siblings, though only being 13 years of age. She only went to church meetings because she promised her mother she would do so. She heard condolences, and hugs she accepted with a smile on her face, though dying inside. Their hugs made her feel vulnerable and sincere smiles made her heart ache. People genuinely cared, that she understood. Their kindness made her yearn for her mother’s love.

In her silent mourning for her mother’s laugh and love, anxiety and depression was all she felt. She missed coming home from church to the smell of fried chicken, boiling rice and gospel music playing in the background. She missed her mother calling her to taste if there was enough salt in the soup. As suicide thoughts filled her mind, she found refuge in a paper and a pen.

She wrote it all down. The depression that captured her soul and suicidal thoughts in her mind, she wrote it all down on pieces of paper in forms of diary entries, poems and short stories. She wrote at home, at school or anywhere she was. Pen and paper became her best friends.

She saw a twinkle in the eyes of those she shared her works with. Their warm smiles made her aching heart heal. She saw hope in the eyes of the readers and their hope gave her faith that the the sun will someday rise again. And that there is a better solution while facing trials and tribulations, and it’s not suicide, drugs or alcohol but rather writing.

Yes she still had nights when she cried herself to sleep, and at times went to the balcony and looked at the heavens. But she didn’t curse them anymore. She writes poems to fill the emptiness in her heart and hoped that she would someday heal and be emotionally able to accept hugs without dying inside. But she was taking it one step at a time, for healing is a slow process.

Shes is now 17, in matric and still healing. She hopes to someday be a motivational speaker and help heal the broken hearted and emotionally disabled. She is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary heart and mind. Her motto is, “aspire to inspire”.

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