In a family separation which had the father kicking out the mother and son, Moffat Sebola’s life and future became uncertain. He had to forge a way forward to a better future with the support of his mother.
“I lived at All Days for the first five or six years of my life, with my parents. They were the best years of my childhood. My mother worked on a farm, while my father had a bakkie that he used to drive the farmworkers to and from work daily. Growing up, I had what many children did not have at the time, or so I thought. My dad bought me a bicycle, toys and always drove around with me.”
However, the joy of having both parents living together and raising him was short lived.
“After my parents’ separation, Mom and I moved from one farm to another. Almost six years of my life were spent on the road like this.This is why I never went to school when I was young.”
The terrible thing was that Moffat’s birth certificate was left at his father’s home before his parents separated. To register at any school he would need one.
“My mom never grew tired of going to Home Affairs applying and re-applying for a reprint of my birth certificate. And she didn’t stop caring for and believing in me and my two brothers.”
When Moffat finally got his birth certificate he was staying on a farm where his mother worked, between Louis Trichardt and Elim. Moffat, his mother, an older brother, a younger brother, and a stepfather relocated to Mpheni D2. It was a one-roomed ‘house’ and a shack. The three of them – Moffat and his two brothers – would sleep in the shack. It was in this shack where they had to survive all kinds of weather.
“I remember rainy nights when we would stand the whole night carrying buckets and basins just so our belongings would not be soaked by the water pouring through the leaking roof. I remember winter mornings when my feet would hit the dusty road as I walked barefoot on my way to school. I remember the countless times when I would go to school with a stomach full of air because there was no food at home.”
But Moffat’s mother never stopped believing that her sons could become better in life. She encouraged them to go to school.
“So, in 2002, my eight-year-old younger brother and I enrolled for Grade 1 at Tshimonela Primary School. I was 12 years old then. I remember vividly the mockery I received from other learners. They relentlessly reminded me that I was too old for the grade. I remember banana peels slapping my face, thrown at me by the angry mob of learners. I remember every accusation that I would rape my classmates (just because I was older).”
Moffat was promoted through several grades because he was brilliant, as he spent most of his time reading books.
“There is nothing else that drove (and still drives) me to excel at my studies than my passion for knowledge and excellence. I was hungry for it,” he said.
To cut a long story short, Moffat matriculated from Ozias Davhana Secondary School in 2011 with four distinctions. He then studied and finished a BA degree in Information Studies (University of Limpopo).
“I enrolled for BA Honours in Tshivenḓa in 2016 at the University of Limpopo and graduated cum laude in 2017,” he said. “I then graduated for a Pastoral Training with Every Nation Ministry School in Cape Town. I obtained a Masters degree in African Languages in 2018 from the University of Limpopo.”
Today, Moffat, apart from doing many other assignments and fulfilling social roles, is a Tshivenḓa lecturer at the University of Limpopo.
He has written and published several books including, among others, Unchained – Living the life powered by Christ (2017), and Unlimited – Found. Freed. Favoured (2017); The Fatherwound – If Only Our Fathers Knew (2018).
He had this to say: “I want every child everywhere, whatever his or her age or background, to believe that dreams come true. My joy lies in challenging and inspiring people to develop their crafts to a level of excellence and service to others.” As if to prove that positive point, he adds: “I am striving for a PhD now.”
Tell us: What did you learn from Moffat’s story?