At a very young age my mother saw fit to let someone else raise me. She was not fit to do that herself and felt it was in my best interest. My mother was a teenage mother who wanted to experience the world, see things and do things her age-mates were doing. As a result, I was sent to live with my grandparents in Joahnnesburg.

Did I mention that in the midst of all of this I had never met my dad?

My mother loved to have fun; she loved music and singing. I still remember how excited she was when she went abroad for the first – and probably the last – time, to a music concert of some sort. I do not know how she managed to pay for the trip but she went anyway.

All this flashy lifestyle and travelling did not last long. My mother was soon diagnosed with AIDS. She came back home after she got worse and my grandparents rejected her due to the stigma that was associated with the disease at the time. I had to live with her. She could not do anything by herself; she had to be fed, bathed and moved around. I had to do all of those things at the age of 10. I could not play with other kids because of my mother’s sickness.

By then I had a 3-year old sister who was also my responsibility. My teachers at school were so concerned with my wellbeing and my emotional state that they decided to call the child welfare to take my mother to a hospice.

It was the1st of September 2005 when these beautiful and well-dressed ladies came into our house and asked me to give them space to talk with my mother. I remember taking my little sister to play outside and they later called us inside.

“Lihle, we are going to take mommy to a place that will make her get better. Would you like that?”

I said yes.

“Good then, sizonisa kwagogo e-East, we will take you to your grandparent’s,” the short one said.

I started protesting that I wanted to go wherever they were taking her. My own mother lied to me, to my face, and told me that she would be back in no time. She knew that she was terminally ill and nine days later she died.

We were sitting outside when we received the call that she was no more, regardless of how much I prayed for her to get better and come back home. I was now officially an orphan, no mother, no dad.


Tell us: What do you think will happen to the kids now?