For the month of February, IOL is inviting our readers to tell us who they love and why to stand a chance of winning amazing prizes in our #MyHeart competition.
Our next winner is Chwayita Ncedana, who submitted the following entry:
In the year 2015, I joined the throngs of unemployed South Africans. I felt ashamed of this experience for I have left my village in the Eastern Cape, a while ago.
I have acquired the city lifestyle, the thought of going back and using pit latrines and fetching water from communal taps mortified me. I, however, could not maintain my upkeep in town – renting a flat and day to day living expenses. My savings dwindled, also. I packed what little possessions I had, and sold some for very little in the streets.
On the way I kept mulling over how I would be the talk of the village, I would hear voices saying “behold how the mighty have fallen” and I worried that the village folk will have my story as the fodder to feed on. There was no other way though as the saying goes “east or west, home is best” or the IsiXhosa saying “ayikho into egqitha ikhaya lakho” I had to go back home.
So I headed to the Eastern Cape, my place of birth. Upon my arrival, the villagers learnt of my misfortune. They all rallied around to make me feel welcome and invited me for one thing or the other that was happening in the community. Even at home, my mother did not allow me to hold a pity party but showed me survival tactics. I was soon integrated to the community.
When our family sheep herder would not pitch because of the weekend drinking spree, I would step in. Also, villages have an amalgamated crop production, so I got there at the time of harvest and they offered me a job which earned me a R100 a day. That year their produce was red kidney beans. After the main harvest we were allowed to glean and whatever we got was for our own use. What a delight it was when I was able to send a metal beaker (ibhekile) measure of beans to my aunt in another village (an old custom of village folk).
There were beans everywhere and poverty was kept at bay, at least where beans were concerned. Our only worry was suffering from lectin poisoning.
Life slowly became meaningful in the village because of the welcoming community. For me, my mother and the people of my village epitomised the “umntu ngumntu ngabantu” saying and collectively they were my heroes because the jobs they offered, though seemingly menial, gave meaning to my life.
After my stay in the village, which proved therapeutic and centred me, I moved to Cape Town to optimise my chances of better employment. My elder brother opened his doors and allowed me to stay in his Khayelitsha house. Neighbours started enquiring about my coming to Cape Town. For some, I think, it was to while away time, others asked for my CV to take to their employers.
My brother ensured that there was food and I had pocket money to print my CV, and the great thing was that the library was within a walking distance. One neighbour would come and tell me about her vision of opening a fisheries and have me as a manager. These were not empty promises, as I have seen her establishing a laundromat, become a hair salon owner and aluminium doors business owner. When the fisheries business did not materialise, she connected me with her fellow small business partner and through her efforts I landed a job as an assistant administrator.
Before I had this job I would be in the house most times. Sometimes the dark clouds would engulf me such that waking up and leading a normal life was a chore. I had my then eight-year-old nephew, Esona, to thank for lifting up my spirits.
After school he would drop his school bag and if I am not in the sitting room, he would come to the room and playfully poke me, if that fails he would put on his songs and I will be dragged to come to the sitting room to be taught (made fun of) how to dance the nae-nae (a dance that was the hype at the time).
This taught me that kids are our emotional boosters and their happy disposition rubs in on us. Therefore my brother, my nephew and the Khayelitsha community were my heroes too.
How to enter our #MyHeart competition:
Tell us who you love and why. The IOL team is passionate about news for the heart of South Africa and we want to hear about who holds your heart. Whether it's the love of your life, your BFF, your cat, your mom, your boss or your second-removed cousin on your grandmother's side, we want to know why you appreciate them so much.
If you are our pick for the best story of the day, you will win one of our amazing prizes and be entered into our grand prize draw sponsored by Protea Hotels by Marriott.
Whether it's an urban escape, going off the beaten track or a romantic seaside soiree you’re after, Protea Hotels by Marriott has just what you're looking for. Visit
protea.marriott.com/valentines-day for some unbelievable couple's experiences and imagine the possibilities this Valentine’s month.
Or download our app on Android or IOS and use our MOJO feature to send us your entry.
TIP: The more words the better, and if you have pics and videos, you can send that too.
The competition runs from February 1 to 28.
Winners will be notified by March 1.
Winners will be notified by email or phone, so please send us your contact details with your entry.
Selected story entries, pictures and videos will be published on iol.co.za and our social media pages. The winners' names will be published on our website and social media pages.
Your privacy is important to us. When you enter a competition with us, we ask for your name, email address and mobile number. We use email addresses to notify winners to let them know they have won a prize. We use the mobile numbers provided in order to contact the winner and for prize delivery.
The competition is only open to people residing in South Africa.
Employees of Independent Media, the sponsors & their agents, or any company associated with the competition & their immediate families are not eligible to enter. • Prizes are not redeemable for cash. • The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. • Receipt of entries will not be acknowledged. • The entrant accepts that entry to the competition does not constitute a contract or any form of legal commitment between the entrant and IOL.