My parents were separated when I was six years old. I had to live with my mother and my brother and two sisters. My mother was not working. She was struggling a lot so she got herself a boyfriend. Maybe she thought that if she could get us a stepfather things would be easier for her, so we went to live with that stepfather somewhere in the rural area where he was working. We stayed there for a short time and then we left there to stay at the other farm. It was because the money was not enough for my stepfather, maybe that’s why we had to move. It was then when my mother broke up with him, we did not know the reason.

My mother said we must go to Koppies to her brother. I was so young, but I remember that my siblings were not going to school any more, they had to drop out. While we were walking, we were passing the bridge when my mother said, “Let’s throw ourselves in the river.”

My older sister said, “Ha, sisi.”

We went to live with my uncle and his family but it was not easy because of his wife. We left and went to stay with my younger uncle and his family, but my mother left to go job hunting. She left early in the morning to Heilbron. Luckily she got a job as a domestic worker and her bosses gave her a place to stay there.

Back at my uncle’s place were two children, the one was a girl my age the other was a boy and he was still in nappies. It was not nice to stay there, but at least we had a home. My older sister was working there at the farm at the age of 14. After a few months my mother came to fetch us because she had found a school for my siblings and me and a place to rent. It was the year 1992 when I started school. I was seven years old. We were happy and we were living a nice life because my mother was working.

Unfortunately, at end of the year we had to go back to Frankfort because my mother got sick, so we went back the following year January and we stayed with my mother’s relative. We were too many in the yard but there was nothing we could do and my mother was not working so we had to survive.
Luckily, she did odd jobs at different farms (togo) but yes, we grew up with the togo money and we got our own place to live.

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