Determined to see an end to the ongoing cycle of addiction, sex work, rape, HIV, abuse and extreme poverty, Nelisiwe Masinga believes telling her story will both help her stick to her resolution and encourage other suffering mothers to do the same.
Masinga, who gave birth 11 years ago, has had a very hard life. She has no idea who the father of her child is, nor does she know who her own father is.
“When I was 9 years old, my late mother introduced me to alcohol and we started going to shebeens. To support our addictions, my mother went as far as trading her body Years later, I began to trade my body as well and at age 13, in 2007, I became pregnant from being raped by unknown drunkards while I was intoxicated. I also contracted HIV.
“That same year, while I needed my mother the most, she fell ill. She was hospitalised for weeks and later died.
“My mother was a South African, but died without an ID book and left me in the world without a birth certificate I could not get one for my own daughter.”
“I am cleaning people’s houses and washing their clothes just to support my daughter and me. Sometimes I do what I know the best, trading my body for money, food and alcohol.
“I have tolerated all kind of abuse so that I can put food on the table because my daughter has to eat,” she said.
But still there are times they go to bed without food. “My daughter has TB of the lungs and it has come back twice,” Masinga said. She said she’d recently stopped drinking “my daughter and I have stopped defaulting on treatment”.
“I refuse to let my daughter experience what I have, growing up as an orphan. That’s why I am saying, ‘my family cycle ends with me’.” - Health-e News.
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