Growing up, life was difficult for Rosetta. At just eighteen years old, her uncle raped Rosetta. Her dreams of becoming a dentist were shattered into fragments when she discovered that she was four months pregnant. Rosetta cried while wiping away the tears that trickled down her cheeks, “I wanted to be a dentist but unfortunately that can’t happen.”

As she sat under a tree in the sweltering weather, Rosetta recalled that fateful night when her uncle crept into her bedroom and raped her, muffling her piercing screams. The pain and anger is etched upon her face as she told her sad story.

Rosetta’s story gets even sadder when she goes on to say that her parents didn’t believe her and labelled her a liar. While raking her fingers through her thin, black braids that cascaded down her slim shoulders, Rosetta said, “They chased me out of the house when they found out that I was pregnant.”

Without a single cent of money on her and only a small luggage bag filled with her clothes she left. Rosetta had no other option but to live on the cold and dangerous streets of Johannesburg. For the next three months the streets became Rosetta’s home. “It was very tough. I’d live on scraps that I found in the dustbins. There were days when I didn’t have any food,” said Rosetta, with her head looking down as she played with the hem of her pleated skirt.

Rosetta was interrupted by the sound of shrill laughter. Rosetta glanced up and a grin formed on her brown face. A group of children ran passed her giggling and squealing. “The girl in the red dress is my daughter Busisiwe,” said Rosetta proudly.

A few months after Rosetta had given birth, she was on the brink of killing herself. Her life was dark, gloomy and filled with poverty. She struggled terribly, but a good Samaritan came along and cast light on her dark path by offering to help her.

Things started to look brighter when Rosetta began working at the supermarket as a cashier. She had managed to find a small place of her own. Whilst working, Rosetta attended night classes and completed her matric. She later took and completed a course in Somatology.

Today, a 27-year-old Rosetta owns a beauty salon. She mentions that it wasn’t easy to start up her own business. But it was determination, perseverance, faith and hard work that led her to success. Her business has been operating for three years and has attracted several celebrities and international stars. Rosetta also runs an organisation that helps victims of rape to come out of their shells and stands firmly against the abuse of woman and children.

Rosetta is a true inspiration. She epitomises a strong character and reminds us that no matter what we go through whether it is good or bad. We should always keep our heads up high and reach for our dreams. We are all capable of success despite our backgrounds.