A few years ago, there was a girl by the name of Gertrude. She came from a foreign country. When she was 12 years old, her mother passed away. If I remember correctly, it was some time in December 2001. There were seven children and she was the fourth child. Their father was working somewhere in the mines in Northam. She was still in school with the elder sister, but she came back with the other three of her siblings. The next year, which was 2002, the father started getting sick. He never got better but instead he was getting sicker and sicker by the day. He was still in the mines, but decided to come back home when he was told he was no longer fit for working underground.

As he was back at home being sick, he was no longer able to maintain seven children. That got too much for him and he ended up passing away. The father’s youngest brother and his wife decided to take Getty with them to raise as their only child because they never were blessed with children. By that time Getty was 13 and she was accepted at one of the schools here in South Africa. They were a bit worried at school about taking in children from foreign countries, but Getty was accepted and was in grade 8. She was a very smart pupil in the class. Three years later, while she was doing her grade 11, she was under a lot of peer pressure and ended up doing some crazy things trying to impress her friends.

She was starting to engage in some relationship things but unfortunately she did not have much knowledge about contraceptives. She fell pregnant while still in grade 11. The aunt and uncle were disappointed in her, but they assured her that they would do everything in their power to raise that child. Getty felt like a loser, but she was not. The support she got from the parents was so meaningful to her, she got the courage to go to school while still heavily pregnant. Come October of the same year, she was blessed with a baby boy by the name of Mfundo. The aunt did everything in her power to look after the young handsome child while Getty was busy writing her exams.

With the support that she got, she was able to focus on her studies more and in her spare time she would only worry about the son, who was well taken care of. The father of Mfundo was also at a young age, but that did not stop them from having the best time ever as the young parents. The parents of Mfondo’s father were also supportive and it was a pleasant thing to see both sets of parents doing everything they could to raise their grandson.

Gertrude passed to do grade 12 and the aunt and uncle were so pleased with her good marks. They only wished the best for her and she worked hard at school knowing that, even if she was a young mother who was still attending school, that little mistake never held her back from having dreams of going to school like any other kids of her age. She had learnt that having a baby is such a blessing and you can still fulfil your dreams and go to school as a young parent.

Gertrude is now working for a Multi-million Rand Company, doing everything she can to provide for her son, who is a big boy attending school. She is so glad to have had a son at that young age and to have been a responsible mother. The support she got made her strong and encouraged her to study hard and finish her schooling to be the role model she is in the eyes of her son. She always says: “Ain’t no man in this world can take my son’s place in my heart!”