NAME ::: Nolwazi Masilela COUNTRY ::: Swaziland
My name is Nolwazi and I’m 21 years old. I did secondary school and then I did three years of studies in biochemistry in South Africa but had to stop because of financial reasons. After that I worked as an administrator and secretary. Right now I’m unemployed, but I’m still applying for new jobs. When I was working as an administrator, that was at an insurance company. I was born in Babane, but was raised up in a more rural area of Swaziland. We moved when my grandmother died, we moved to here, close to the border to South Africa. I moved here with my father and now we live here with my other relatives and also my other grandmother. My mother is now married to another man, she is living in Babane now. My dad is also married again and he is living here just around the corner.
I didn’t have a very good childhood. Since I was staying with my father, we were three back then. It was me with my brothers. We were staying with my father and he was very bullying. So as a girl in the house, I used to cook, fetch water, bath the younger ones and get them to school. At some point I remember and I had forgotten something. He did not want me to say that I forgot something, instead he spanked me and even used his belt. So that wasn’t very much of a good childhood, because I remember the last time he hit me, I went to the police station. As a result he did not want to pay my primary education as he assumed that I just go to the police again and then he will get arrested. It wasn’t actually me that went to the police station, but the police brought me there and started asking questions. At the end I told them who beat me. And with that story he got arrested and after that he refused to pay for my education. Then my mother my mother was paying for me, but that was difficult and she worked on different jobs to make it possible. I think I was around twelve or eleven years old at that time. Today I have to put it to the past, but sometimes I feel the anger inside of me, when I see him, but I try to forgive. We try to have a good relationship now, but it’s not always easy with him.
What is most important to you?
What I find important in life? Well, that is a good question. I think the things I find important in life is life itself. Yes, it’s life itself. I’m grateful that I’m alive and healthy. And the environment I live is is also very important to me. A lot of people don’t have something like a place that they call home. I have a place where I can say I’m going home to. That is very important to me. And knowing that my parents are both still alive. To know them well and have the time with them is gift. Some people don’t have the opportunity to have so much time with their parents. This is important to me. And of course also education. Education is one of the most important things, because without education in these days you can almost do nothing. So those things are important to me.
What has influenced you the most in your life?
What has influenced me the most is, when I was at high school and my dad was not paying for me, I met someone who payed for my school fees. So I got pregnant from him and I have a baby now, he is four years old. I believe I should be more like that I warn parents that they are more protective with their children. Because I don’t want anyone to come in my position with having a child so early. Because even if I would have wanted to sleep with him. He was paying for my school fees, so I felt it would be wrong to say no. Who is going to pay my school fees then, when he is not doing it anymore. I was 17 at that time and gave birth, when I turned 18. Unfortunately also the dad of my son, he got shot in 2009, a short time after I gave birth, so my son has no dad now. My child now stays with my mother as I don’t have money. I see him often tough. I saw him today for instance, taking him to a check up in the hospital.
What has been an important turning point in your life?
The most important turning point in my life was knowing that I have a responsibility. I can’t just go anytime or go to a club or drink, take drugs, because I’m responsible for a child. I think having a baby made me grow a lot. I could say that this was the biggest turning point for me so far. In terms of education, because I did not finish my education, knowing that I have this responsibility, but having such a hard time to find a job, that is difficult.
What makes you happy?
What makes me feel happy is being alive, waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror and smiling at myself and thinking, what a beautiful day. Then I’m happy. Honestly, just that. Just smiling at myself, that gives me a feeling of happiness. Seeing the sun rise, that is great. So it’s nothing specific, just the general joy of being alive and feeling that.
What are you personally proud of?
I’m proud of myself. Being myself, that makes me proud. Why? Because in my age I’m a mother, what I should not be, but now I’m proud of that. And also knowing that you own something, that makes me happy. You have something that came into this world because of you. This is a beautiful feeling. Very beautiful.
What have been the biggest struggles in your life?
The biggest struggles in my life was when I was a child. I remember that it was very painful for me. At some point I used to come here and visit my grandmother, and often I just started crying. My grandmother tried to defend me, but my father was just not listening. So that was very much a struggle. The second big struggle I had was when Jimmy died, Tumi’s dad. I wasn’t employed at that time, I was in school, cause he was still paying for my college. And my mother was working, but she did not have a stable job to support us, so I had to provide everything for the baby myself, no matter if it was food, pampers, everything. So I went and asked at peoples houses to clean for them, do laundry, so that I had some money to buy food for the baby. That was a very difficult time.
What would you change in your life, if you could change something?
I would change my grandmothers death. Because if it wasn’t for her death, I would not have come back to stay with my father. Probably I would be a doctor, nurse or engineer or something like that. I think I would change that. After her death I had to come back because I was staying with her, so I had to go and stay with my father. Eventually everything changed with that. She would have protected me. She was very protective. So she was a very good grandmother that took good care of me.
What do you wish for your own future?
What I wish for in the future is that I’m able to build a proper home for Tumi. I think that is a very big wish for me. Building a home where both of us could stay all the time. Right now I just live in this very small hut and don’t have space that he can live here, so he is staying with my mother most of the time. I would wish for having a stable home for Tumi.