I grew up in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. I am the youngest of 4 children. I was much younger than my sisters and brother and they always said I was a spoilt little brat, but today I believe it’s because they thought I was the cutest, gorgeous little girl. My father died when I was 3 years old and my mother raised us on her own.
I have fond memories of my childhood, even if it was tough at times. I was so adorable, I even got kidnapped by a crazy neighbour when I was still a baby. She only had boys and wanted a little girl. My mother worked long hours and my 2 sisters filled her role. My siblings love telling stories about me, how demanding I was and always got my way when my mind was set on something. Must’ve been the cute chubby cheeks, curly hair and bubbly personality that charmed them and allowed me to get away with a lot of things. I believe the age gap contributed to that.
They would tease me when I irritated the and scare me with “Sakkie-met-die-een-hout-been” a fictitious character that had a wooden leg. They’d walk down the passage with a hockey stick and I would hide in my dark cupboard. For years I believed he really existed. In my matric year, I encountered a flash back of how petrified I was of Sakkie, when a man with a wooden leg walked down the passage, past our front door. Realizing then, how many incidents are locked and forgotten in our sub-conscious and how small things could trigger it and teaches you survival skills to cope with it.
People entered my life at a young age, creating challenging circumstances around alcoholism and abusive behaviour. It required me to be an independent and responsible child, teenager and adult. I never allowed it to pull me down, on the contrary, I would make the best of every situation and turn it into something positive. My experiences shaped me into a mature, well-rounded and strong woman that equipped me to deal with setbacks and challenges unpredictably easy. It enabled me to accomplish feats and take what happens in my stride. Having the ability to naturally move into character being a wife, mother and widow at a very young age. [Read more about it in My Stories]
Today, while writing this story, the flashbacks takes me on a journey of self realisation. I look back and smile. I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have had the childhood I had. There are so many that was worse-off than me and survived!