21 June 2019

Breaking cycle of poverty

"Being raised by an unemployed grandmother in a big family of nine was the worst part of my life. We lived in one cramped room. I slept on the floor with my cousins while my grandmother and aunt shared the bed.

We ate cooked mealies for dinner and applied cooking oil to our bodies as body lotion. I dropped out of school in grade 10 and moved to Johannesburg where I worked as a live-in domestic worker. Poverty however followed me into adulthood. I dated a man who was as poor as I was. He had a job that paid him too little to survive.

I became pregnant after two years in our relationship.  I was angry with myself because I knew we could not afford to take care of the child. I did not want my unborn baby to live a life of poverty like I did. As a result, I tried killing myself when I was pregnant. I drank a bottle of hair gel, but nothing happened to me or the baby. I just threw up. I did not have anything for the baby when I gave birth. I had to buy a towel from the nurse to wrap my child. We continued living in poverty and had another child before we got married. In 2002, a colleague who knew my situation invited me to the Universal Church.

Our situation worsened as our two children grew and I became more suicidal. In 2005, I was diagnosed with depression and was put on medication. I continued attending the services where I understood that I needed to surrender my life to God and trust Him with my problems. I took part in the chains of prayer on Fridays and I was delivered from suicidal thoughts.

My husband found a well-paid job and we were able to provide for our children. My cousins found jobs and we were able to build a three-bedroomed house back home. My children are working and living their best life. It was only through God that I was able to break the cycle of poverty," said Nomthandazo.