One harsh winter, many people in the land were sick. Ma Monikazi’s cheeks burned. Sweat dripped from her body. She wanted to hold the icy grass to her face to cool down. Under her blanket she held her belly and sang to the baby inside her: “Be strong, little one. Winter’s not long. Be brave, little one. Together we’re strong!”

Her stomach growled when the baby’s powerful kicks woke her at night. She ate the leftover meat in the cooking pot, hungry for life.

One bright night the moon was bigger, fatter and pinker than ever. Her breath came fast. The baby was ready. The aunties in the birthing room rubbed her back and warmed the water. When Monikazi held her beautiful daughter in her arms, she knew she was a special girl, a fighter.

What a blessing! Her name is Nontsikelelo. She will be the mother of all blessings.