While many parents leave wealth for their children, mine only left an Anglican hymn book. For the last 18 years this has been my only guidance and adviser, thank you mom…

Once dead but now alive

It was August 2004 and I was only three years old when my mother passed away leaving me behind. I do not have a clear picture of what she looked like. There is only one photo of her left – an ID photo. I am the last born of four siblings, one sister and three elder brothers. My name is Momelezi, born on the 18th of July 2000. I was born in a small town in the Eastern Cape called Mount Ayliff. I was born to a single unemployed parent who only sold veggies in town in order to raise her family.

My mother left me something important. It would help me focus in life even though, at times, life has seemed cruel. Every time when I look at this precious gift that was left by mom, I feel happy, loved and full of hope. It is said that when she felt that death was visiting her in hospital, she asked a nurse to give her a pen and a piece of paper.

The nurse brought such things and she wrote a very short note on the paper. The note read: “Nixelele u Momelezi ndiyamthanda kakhulu, ecaleni kwe bedi yam kukho iculo lase Tshetshi. Ndiyampha alisebenzise maxesha onke”. This translates to: “Please greet Momelezi for me, tell him that I love him very much, there’s an Anglican hymn book next to my bed, give it to him. He must use this hymn book all the days of his life.”

Growing up I knew my mom was no more but I always hoped she would come back one day. We lived in her mother’s house and had never had a place of our own. We were a big family including cousins.

When time went on it became clear that me and my siblings had no parents. Our uncles were too focused on their children and never took us seriously. My elder brother, after passing matric in 2005, went to Johannesburg to look for a job so that he could support and build a home for us. Things got worse at home. Nobody cared about us as we moved from relative to relative and things did not get better. I remember dropping out of school in 2012, not because I wanted. We were kicked out by one of our relatives during the month of August.

My brother had told me about the hymn book and kept it safe for me. While moving from relative to relative I made sure I didn’t lose it and whenever I missed mom, I would look at it. Later, I would feel relieved, hopeful and strong to approach life.

Today I am the only one who passed matric amongst my cousins. I passed it very well. My brother has applied for me to study at UJ next year. I know mom loved me even though she had nothing financially to offer. This hymn book is my life and has taught me that money does not guarantee love. Someone can love even if they are poor, the best thing is to show that you care. I am sure I will keep this hymn book and pass it to my own family one day.
Thank you: Momelezi