My name is Sbongakonke. It was given to me by my mother and father. My mother and father were thankful because they were blessed with twins. So my parents named me Sbongakonke which means ‘thank you for everything’.

People often shorten my name to Sbonga. I was born at King Edward Hospital in Durban during Youth Month – 18 June 2007. I love how my name sounds, especially when my mother says it.

My nickname is ‘Shortie’. I don’t like my nickname because I feel that my friends are making fun of me because of my height. Why don’t they just call me by my real name? They have been calling me ‘Shortie’ since I was in Grade 5, but even now in Grade 7 they still call me that name. They don’t even consider that Sbongakonke means ‘thank you for everything’. It is a sign of respect, a lesson that you must be grateful.

My other name is Siphokazi. My great grandmother was also named Siphokazi and that name means ‘gift’. She was a gift from her mother. I’m also a gift from my mother. Even my twin brother’s name is Neo which means ‘gift’ in Sesotho. I respect my name like I respect myself. I am grateful to my parents for choosing the right name for me because it really fits my personality.

My name represents me because I have respect. I treat every single person like my own family and I am kind.

***