No one told my brother to get a stroke and go into a coma. No one told my mother to drink while I was in her womb and no one told my dad to smoke and abuse my mom. When I was in Grade 3, I got tuberculosis and I was hospitalized for six months. Ever since I was in Grade 4, children and people made fun of me, saying I have big teeth, belong in a mental hospital, I’m crazy and that I don’t belong in Mannenberg.

I am Jade and this is my story.

It started in grade 4. On the first day of school I was excited, but I couldn’t go because I was still in hospital. They asked me if I wanted to go home and I said yes. This was on the 24th February 2013. I went to school and I was very nervous about how it would be, who would be in my class and who would be my new teacher. I got to the school and when I took one step into the class the children were surprised to see me. Miss Celvert introduced me to the children and she took me to my place. I was excited to sit. I took out my Maths book and started writing.

A girl “Carleigh Ann Koopman” became one of my best friends. She was even like a sister to me. One day she bought me a chocolate with a note saying “Thank you for being my friend, I love you Jade”. I took it and said to her “Carleigh, You are my sister no matter what’. From that day we laughed, giggled, talked and sung. When I fell, she lifted me up and I did the same but when I told her that I was sick she changed. I ask her why and she said nothing. The next day she was with the bully “Shamika”.

Carleigh was a backstabber, but I didn’t care about her. Miss Celvert said we were not to bully each other, but they kept bullying me. I told my grandmother about it and she said ‘’Jade, Tell your teacher about it”. I told my teacher about it and she gave them a hiding. She also told me to say “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, but it still hurt me.

When I got home my granny prepared me a nice meal with juice and said “If you are done eating you must take your tablets’. When I asked my mother for money for bread she always said “Go ask your Dad I don’t have money”. This was always done in a rude way even if she really had the money. Sometimes I wonder why I have a mother like that and I wished I had another mother. Day and night she drank and danced, but one day she said to herself “This is not me I must stop being so’.

Every day when I walk passed people they say ‘Here is the mad child ’almost as if I’m mad. Do I really belong in Mannenberg where people are rude? I don’t belong here, I just wished I could die but every day I say to myself “Jade just be yourself, don’t worry about what people say – no one is perfect “.

I hate living in Mannenberg. One day when I’m big, I want to be a doctor to help save sick children. I want to go for my dream even if people judge me for who I am.