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I AM HER

As we nearing the end of woman's month. I sit back and reflect on the month of August and i am reminded of all the giants on whose shoulders i stand. I come from a long line of incredible women who through their sheer resilience paved a way for me to thrive.

My maternal great grand mother Mary Mokoena ( nee Suljee) fell inlove and married my great grand father Daniel Mokoena at a time when inter-racial marriages were illegal, she fought her family and society to be with the love of her life. I salute her for fighting the oppressive system that worked hard to oppress and separate families based on the colour of their skins.

My paternal grand mother Makosha Rebecca Itsweng, defied patriachal societal norms by leaving her family and her homestead of Ga-Maunatala in Bolobedu and moving to the big city to fend for her family. As the youngest and third wife to my grandfather she was expected to stay in the homestead and wait for my grandfather who worked in Pretoria to send money to support her children. She decided to  leave the homestead and move to Mamelodi, where she worked as a hawker selling food and her vegetable produce to support her children. She finally build her own home in Mamelodi, supporting her children and putting them through school with her hustle. I salute her for fighting the patriacjhal system that was meant to keep her hostage in a traditional homestead and living in poverty.

My maternal grand mother Manna Getrude Mokoena, worked as a cook in Durban. After having my uncle at a young age, she left her baby with her mother and went looking for work in Durban. She found work as a cook, and supported her family with her cooks salary until her retirement. She opened me up to amazing food and flavours and has influenced the adventurous foodie i am today. I salute her for instilling good food into my psyche and opening me up to the wondrous world of food and for passing on her indian heritage to me through food.

My mother Sibongile Pamela Itsweng, was a phenomenal woman who was blessed with beauty, charm and intelligence. She finished school at the young age of 15 and went on to study teaching, making her one of the youngest teachers in Umlazi. She met my Dad, got married and moved to Mamelodi, where she helped my dad build a successfull surgery and businesses. Being community leaders meant that they were a support system for many people in Mamelodi. My mother fought the racist apartheid government in court and won, after my father was arrested and detained without trial for 6months at Pretoria Central Prison. Stories of her hiding student activists in our home during the unrest in the 80's  are a testament to her strong character and never-say -die attitude to life. I salute her for always fighting for the best of everything for us and never allowing fear to limit her abilities

I reflect on these women and their stories to remind myself of the greatness i come from. These women are in my DNA..they are God's promise to me that anything i put my mind to, i can achieve simply because i stand on their powerful shoulders. Everytime i feel overwhelmed, sad or fearful, i remember that i was born for greatness, because i come from greatness. I AM, BECAUSE THEY WERE.. I am them in 2020..their wildest dream.

So next time you feel like giving up on your dreams, look into your lineage and therein lies your power, your strength and your victory. Our mothers hold us up to God and our ancestors, they protect us and shine the light so bright that we have no option but to soar towards our dreams. CAMAGU! THOBELA! RA LOTSHA!

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