My name is Palesa and it was given to me by my mother. People often pronounce my name wrong. They say ‘Palisa’ instead of ‘Palesa’.

My mother wanted to call me Mbali, but in those days most of the girls she knew who were called Mbali were not decent and lacked good character. My mother wanted to call her first baby girl Mbali, which means flower, so she chose to translate the name into Sesotho so that she could be satisfied and called me Palesa.

Palesa means flower and I see myself as a red rose because I’m romantic and red is one of my favourite colours. I love the sound of my name – it’s kind of cute.

My second name is Owami – it means ‘mine’. My second name has a big story behind it. My mother’s side of the family wanted to raise me alone, without any involvement from my dad’s side. My dad’s side wanted to raise me without involvement from my mother’s side. There was a custody battle – I tell you! My mother’s grandmother said: ‘This is my child – Owami lomntana’. Since then Owami became my second name.

My name represents me because I am bright and bold like a red rose. I am fond of most flowers. These are my favourites: sunflowers, daisies, lilies, orchids and last, but not least, the protea.

This is how I feel about my name and how it identifies me.

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