Home, a symbol of hell
Losing her grandmother who was a pillar of strength and being abused left Palesa angry and bitter for many years.
"It was only after my grandmother passed on that my mother came back to live with me. She had been working as a domestic worker in Johannesburg and was hardly involved in my upbringing. Living with her gave me some comfort and the love that I longed for.
Later that year she took me to visit my two older brothers and her partner. She did not have enough money for us to return home at the end of the holidays. As a result, I stayed behind with my two brothers and our stepfather.
I started at a new school and I was away from my mother again. My brothers constantly fought over minor things such as food. They also fought with my stepfather whom they ended up chasing out of the house. Our home turned into a jungle where everyone did as he pleased. I also spent most of my time away with friends instead of going home after school," she said.
It was not long before Palesa started drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
"I drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes to take away my frustration at staying with my brothers who were always fighting and being away from my mother," she said.
When Palesa was in grade 12, she was invited to the Universal Church.
"I attended the services, but I did not commit myself to God because I still drank and smoked. That same year one of my brothers passed away after a short illness. I was left with one who later went back home. I survived on money that I received from the tenants who rented our backrooms. I later dated someone and I became pregnant months into the relationship. I moved in with my partner and completely stopped attending the services," she said.
Her partner became abusive and Palesa decided to leave him.
"One night we had a huge fight and the next day I decided to go back home. That same week I was re-invited to the church. I attended the services and committed my life to God. I asked Him to heal me from the anger I had towards my mother who was never there for me and my boyfriend who abused me. It wasn’t easy.
I learnt that in order to have the Holy Spirit I needed to let go of my unforgiving character because it was not of God. I now have inner peace. I get along with my mother and the father of my child and I are civil to each other and he provides for the child. I recently started a modelling agency. Surrendering my life to God gave me a purposeful life," said Palesa.