People tend to think that they know you if they know your name. My name neither defines me, my past nor my future. Yes some cultures believe that a name describes a person’s past, present or future but my mine doesn’t! My culture also does believe in that myth.

My parents named me Nonhlanhla because they believed that it was luck that I made it to the world after the complications my mother faced during her pregnancy, during labour and after birth. They believed it was luck I managed to walk at the age of 5 when the doctors had lost hope and thrown the towel saying my spinal-cord was damaged. They believed I would never walk in my whole life but that was their belief, not mine.

Knowing my name doesn’t mean you know me. You may know my name but not the struggles I’ve been through, and the obstacles that I have overcome. Yes I was named Nonhlanhla (meaning ‘lucky’) and this name may seem to tell a story about me but it doesn’t. Was it luck that I got raped at the age of 13? Was it luck that I was gang raped, turned to a wife while I was supposed to be a child and enjoyed my teenage years? If so, I fail to explain the word luck. An interpretation of my name is not an interpretation of my life’s story. My name says the opposite whilst my life says the other.

Yes my name is supposed to tell a story about my life but I guess mine doesn’t. Is being raped because of my sexuality luck? I’ve been abused numerous times. I’ve been raped to a point that I stopped counting. I got pregnant after my last rape incident. How was I lucky? I become a mother at the age of 17, having a child which will always be a reminder that it was conceived in the name of fixing my confused mind and driving out the demons in me.

How was I lucky to be a sex slave? How was I lucky when the law never took me seriously? I mean how was I lucky when the justice failed me? How was I? I mean you know my name but not the struggles I have faced, you don’t know me because my name doesn’t tell story of my life.


Tell us: What do you think of Nonhlanhla’s story?