The outer cover of a book can be disgusting and unattractive to the extent that you lose interest in reading it just by seeing its outside. Not knowing that the exterior of an object doesn’t determine the innermost part of it. Relative to us human beings, we tend to determine one’s character on their outer appearance. Making assumptions based on their first impressions. Passing judgment upon that particular person. See someone for a second and we already think we know that person’s character.

Tending to notice things about someone’s appearance, mannerisms, features, and their company, that we may feel are grounds to pass judgment. Whereas the beauty of a being is what is inside of it. Not all people show their difficulties and perspectives on their foreheads. The depth of a person cannot be seen from their appearance. It takes bravery within the individual to open up, expressing to whom they trust. Pouring down their pain. Until then don’t judge…

Words do not only mean ‘the words’ coming from an individual who’s not a critical thinker, but those of an ordinary person who truly speaks from the heart can change one’s perspective about life.

I thought how well created her body was, how beautiful she was, her life was bliss! All along, it wasn’t. It is true that in life we meet different people with different perspectives.

One day one was drained, emotionally drained, to be specific. It is true that sometimes we tend to think that we experience severe difficulties in life, way too much to compare our situation with what others might be in or might have gone through. I have discovered that everyone who has experienced any hardship in life has a different tale but we all have the same commonality – PAIN.

Now it could be temporary in some cases but, in her situation, it left a permanent mark. Permanent markers cannot be erased; literally it cannot be erased in her situation. As a person, one has to accept who we are because everything that we go through in life is a building block of who we are today. You need to discover yourself in order to have a sense of worth. Your values, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses will determine what you want to achieve in life.

Her story has been effective, not only to me but also to those around my power circle. Thinking about it has dug out buried feelings and thoughts, organs which she considers as her personal tombstones (heart and brain) and will never ever allow her to forget her upbringing. Allow me to say she is doomed spiritually! It feels as if she has been stabbed plenty of times to the extent that the scars have no way of recovering; the holes do not promise any recovery; permanent marks cannot be erased.

Regardless, life continued, which brought her to the realization that this is Planet Earth! Reality kicked in, the fact that her mother was no more, has never even experienced her presence, but how she suffered, sexually abused and manipulated by foreigners who infected her with the incurable HIV virus, which later on transformed into its highest state AIDS and lit up like a Christmas tree in her body. Her deathbed was made for her to sleep in and never set her eyes open, not even to witness her three children growing up, which is every mother’s dream!

Her children suffered from the moment she went down that six-foot hole. Where was their father? Unfortunately, not like any typical father whose duty it is to ensure that a child is safe and protected; theirs chickened out and sold them to a white man. Really? How could a father decide to sell his own children? Haha! She was always thinking about the amount of money he sold us for, could our worth be surpassed by monetary value? But then again only he had the answers I was asking myself.

As time went by, finally a family member (her grandfather) had a conscience and took them back home, where they belonged. Even there, things were not as good as she thought because their grandfather passed on too. Things began to change, their step grandmother turned to something else and hustling was their only option. Imagine! No mother, no father, even the only person you were left with is no more.

Things just got worse, it was even difficult for her to receive the fare to go to school and she would only attend school twice a week. Even there she did not lose any hope, instead she used her background as her motivation. Teachers saw her routine of coming to school but they didn’t know what the problem was until she didn’t come to school for the entire week and then they began to worry. Her step grandmother was called to school and asked to explain the situation, but the only explanation she could provide was being rude.

Ms Bopi, her English teacher was so frustrated about the situation that she approached the school principal about the matter. Cwenga received accommodation that covered transport and school fees from the school. Things got better on the other side, but at home it was a living hell. Insults every now and then, going to sleep on an empty stomach, but even there she kept on holding on. She looked like a normal person. Beautiful on the outside, but rotten with pain on the inside. All in all, she never stopped smiling.

Time went by and when she was in matric, things got even worse. She was suffering from depression, which began to be a stumbling block on her way, and she ended up failing matric. That moment only God knows why He saved her. She tried committing suicide, had an overdose of 200 pills down her throat, but no-one even bothered to rush her to hospital besides her younger sister and thankfully she was saved.

She couldn’t stop praying and even began to recover. She went out there and registered to re-write matric. On her way back she saw a Y2K college poster for part-timers but the fees were beyond boundaries. Money she couldn’t even afford but, because she is serving a living God, was given the contact details of the Y2K manager, Mr Philani. She tried calling him many times with no response until he replied and set up an appointment for 1 o’clock the next day. She went there and waited till 6 o’clock when Mr Philani came in. The first words which came out of his mouth were: “Whatever you came for, you have got it! The time you have stayed here shows how desperately you want this” and she was given a chance to study again. That year was full of wisdom to her and she passed her matric with three distinctions which led her straight to the University of the Western Cape to study the course of her dreams.

So, Cwenga is currently at the University of the Western Cape doing her first year, focusing on a course of Genetic Engineering. God! You could see the excitement on her face as if she has never been through worse, but then again, it is true that God waits for the right time in order for Him to answer and also requires patience because this day was the day Cwenga was waiting for after suffering for so many years. And I was inspired.

Motivation does not only come from our families, but from seeing people out there who have overcome the worst, yet are still standing. They are my motivation.