This brought an automatic smile to my face. I mean my home is so amusing, it is calming and the smell of dusty roads especially on rainy days, the animals, the sound of the flowing Tudumo River characterises this place. It is in Polokwane in a village called Mamaolo, I do not think it is even recognised on the map of our country, thinking about this I laugh. As you step into this place you will be welcomed by children running up and down, singing all kinds of songs and it becomes so quiet when they have gone to school.

The children would play until its dark and will not stop until one of the elders in our neighbourhood calls them and then they will disperse with dust all over their bodies and some will go with only one shoe because they could not find the other – how funny, but it was normal. This used to be me; I was once that kid with

This soil in my hair. It is a good memory and when I say I am the daughter of the soil I know what I mean, this soil was part of every developmental level I have gone through.

This village groomed me, taught me and it motivates me, but the best thing it has ever provided for me is a sense of belonging. I remember back in 2014, after matriculating, when I had to come to Johannesburg to further my studies it was the image of this village that encouraged me to go out and make the best out of myself, but I experienced mixed emotions. I was so happy that I am finally following my dreams, but at the same time I was so sad and teary to leave what felt like everything to me.

Three months ago I could feel I was missing a piece from my puzzle, I felt so invisible and the sense of belonging in me was all gone. Days went by slowly for me and finally I headed home, I caught the first taxi from Park Station to Lebowakgomo. On 29 March 2014 and I made sure that I was sitting by the window. I did not want to miss any details on my journey home back to where my heart belongs.

As the taxi arrived I could not hold my smile in – I was so happy, and everyone was so happy to see me. I felt that sense of belonging once again and I got the recognition and compliments I desired. It felt so great to be home and as a bonus I was the centre of attention. Everyone listened to my stories of my Johannesburg experience. I remember my cousin who was nine years old at that time saying, “When I grow up I want to go to Johannesburg”, she had no idea how badly I missed home and felt incomplete without all the goats and cows grazing around.

This place is not only where I grew up, it is part of who I am and it challenges me to be better. The best thing about it is how we care about each other as neighbours. The spirit of Ubuntu is easy to develop in this village and I am privileged to have had all these life experiences from here.