The luckiest girl in the world

Recently I was selected as one of the young people in Mail and Guardian’s “200 Young People in South Africa to take to lunch” list( This was a selection due to my involvement around Grahamstown schools as well as my research into mother tongue education. In essence they’ve recognised me as one of the “movers and shakers” in my field. After the disbelief and uncertainty of this means for me I recognised this as an honour for me to be recognised in the same publication with people I’m in awe of and whom I think are far “cooler” than I could be.

Apart from the honour I realised that the list that could never be publicised as widely as the Mail and Guardian’s list comprises of my 200 people that have been part and parcel of the person that Mail and Guardian recognised. I’ve been blessed with loving family members, past and present, who have contributed to both the woes and joys of my upbringing. My family as well as izihlobo zezinyo (friends of the tooth=friends who have become as close and even closer than family members) have believed in me and my potential when I have often been in denial of what I can and do offer the world.

These people have put up with my strange questions and schizophrenic moments I have been experiencing ever since the dreaded adolescent stage took place. They have helped me find my feet and make a stand in the world and proudly and fearlessly voice, I AM HERE! They have given me opportunities that have unearthed my talents. They have opened doors for me where I have learned to trust myself. Many gave the most prized possession in this era, their time. The numerous tea dates and prayer sessions and walks along the beach, drives to nowhere and ice cream dates have all been mine. They have given their time coupled with their experiences, opening themselves and sharing about their fears and joys and yearnings that often lie dormant. They have laughed and cried with me and given more than a shoulder to cry on, they gave their hearts. Often they gave even the little they have, shared their homes and meals, breaking bread and communing with me. All this happened amidst the throes of growing up in a fractured family, poverty, divorce, neglect, rejection, instability and having nothing-going three days with no food, walking to school in the rain and arriving soaked to the skin, sleeping outside because of homelessness, coming back from school with Tata gone, lacking toiletries despite being a girl with a monthly period, verbal and physical abuse, the list is endless.

By being poor, I learned to appreciate the richness of relationship with people who forced me to believe and hope that we are all created in the image of a loving God. Many people on my list of 200 have never known what is going in my home or family, and without knowing it became my safe space without even noticing it. I have felt love from them and I am eternally grateful.
I am the luckiest girl in the world because of my list of 200 people.


xolani said…
Commenting on such things as ones reflection about their own life and lessons learnt is never an easy task. From reading your post, I can only remark that friendships are two-way. They are nurtured and find expression through the parties involved. So it is not so much that you are lucky but that those who have had the opportunity to meet you and count you as a friend have equally been lucky.
I guess what your posting also reveals is how fragile we are as humans and how central relationships, camaradie and a sense of belonging is to our very existence.

All in all, a very human posting.
Gcobani said…
You are super inspiring Athambile, and I hope you continue doing your thing. I'm challenged! Inspired - and motivated all at once :-)

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