I grew up with seven siblings and my mother and father. Suddenly, my dad passed away when I was eight years old. My mother had to raise us as a single parent. She was also not working, it was not easy.

I grew up in a village, it was not costly to go to school because we walked to school and no money was spent on transport and there were no fees. Life was not fair to my mother. She was struggling to raise us. She fell ill with high blood pressure. She became asthmatic. I was the youngest so I slept in the same bed with her. I would see her struggling to breathe, due to being asthmatic. It was so painful to know that I could not do anything to help. She would be admitted to hospital and be discharged while still being sick.

My mother also experienced physical abuse from my late father. I’m so happy that there is now a campaign called, “Wathinta abafazi wathinta imbokodo” which helps you learn to say no to woman abuse.

After some years, my mother’s illness got serious, during that time I was doing my matric. She passed away during my winter school. When my siblings were preparing her funeral, it was a shame because none of them were working proper jobs and she did not have funeral cover. I felt so small when I could not help to arrange a proper goodbye for my mother. When she was buried my aunt took me in.

I did not pass my matric. After that, no one wanted to support me, because I was already 18 years old. I did not get orphans’ grant. Living with my aunt was not easy, she use to shout at me saying that there is no one taking care of me and that she’s the one feeding me.

“I am tired of taking care of children who are not grateful,” she would say.

After a year, my brother called and told me to come to Joburg to learn. I thought it was going to be a relief because I was going to stay with my sibling, but that’s where my life was even more tough. He wanted me to babysit his child. When I was there he told me that he no longer had money to take me to school. I ended up having nothing to do, no job and I had to beg for everything. All I did was take care of the baby and accompany the child to crèche and I do house chores.

Jozi has never been easy on me. I tried to look for a job but I did not get any. I had no money for toiletries. I would date men for money so that I could manage myself. That was so painful. I never wished to live like that, life was so unfair.

One day a friend of mine told me to go to college. I applied. After that, my life changed because of NSFAS I become the girl I always wanted to be. I am currently still busy with the course. I use the train to travel to school, because my NSFAS allowance is used for grocery shopping. That’s life. You have to decide what you want and how you are going to live it.

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