This is a story about my mother’s life and all that she’s been through, but came out alive and vibrant in the end. My Inspiration.

“Mummy, I’m full, I don’t want to eat this anymore,” said Nutty to his mother. He had interrupted his mother’s daydreaming.

“Okay, put the remaining food in the oven,” said Zola, short for Nokuzola, Nutty’s mother. Zola was apparently thinking of what they were going to eat later for supper, since there was hardly any food or money within the household. Zola’s husband went to Gauteng with the intention of working for his family, but when he got there, he hardly contacted Zola or Nutty’s siblings. He usually called once in a month or never bothered to call. While he was in Gauteng doing God¬-knows¬-what, he left Zola with her three children, suffering from poverty. It was never easy since she had the duty to carry the burden on her own, with no-one to help her.

Life was bitter then, as sour as a lemon. Everybody laughed with Zola and loved her when her husband was around, but the moment he fled, people started distancing themselves from her. Nobody wanted to help her raise her three kids. She tried opening a stall where she sold fruit and vegetables and snacks for kids, but because of receiving no support from her neighbours and friends, that failed and had to be closed down.

It was hard to put bread on the table because she had no idea which way the wind was blowing. Zola couldn’t take the poverty any more when she and her kids went to bed on an empty stomach, having only pure water to drink. She considered getting into prostitution because of not bearing the pain of seeing her kids go to school with worn¬ out clothes and school shoes with holes on the bottom, but soon washed that thought away with alcohol.

It was because of stress that she started drinking alcohol, but having to share it with those who bought it with their own money. She usually came home drunk and having no knowledge of what her kids ate. Those weren’t her intentions, but because of her oversized problems, she thought it was the only temporary solution, until she thought of another way to make money.

She found a way of making money, which was by selling dagga. She went with the idea and it worked for her and her little family quite well. At least that kept the family preoccupied since they had something to eat. That went on for quite some time until a neighbour reported Zola to the police. The police came to search the house but found nothing. Zola was clever enough to hide the dagga underground where people would least expect it. After the police’s threat, she had to drop that way of making money and look for something else. There was nothing else to do except to…

Zola thought about it for quite a long time until she decided to go with the idea of selling her house and to move somewhere else within the region. She successfully sold her house and moved elsewhere with her kids. That was around December because she wanted her children to start a new school in a new year, not in the middle of the year. She later found out that she had freed herself from poverty, from dull Christmas days with no presents and holidays that were nightmares. She turned a new leaf and started her life afresh.

She is now a happy woman with her warm, legal shebeen, with supportive neighbours and her children overwhelmed with excitement.

They judged my mother for being a drunkard, called her a criminal and looked down on her. I am now proud to say that I, Nutty, her oldest son, have shared half of her burden with her in order to be where we are today. She was never alone. I was always beside her. We, as her children, were always beside her. We never judged her because she was our hero. We appreciated everything she did because we knew she did it for our own well¬being.

Zola is still alive and healthy, not only because she made the best decision, but because she has patient, supportive and grateful children as her pillars of strength. They tried burying her but didn’t realise that she was a seed. Against all odds, Zola came out of poverty, ALIVE.