From nothing to meeting King’s and Shiek’s

What I am about to tell you, is not all the facts only a few to give you a better picture of the nothing this person has come from, the adversities she has had to overcome and how she got to where she is today, this is not my story it is that of my mothers.

Growing up on a small chicken farm just outside Cape Town, she only met her father at the age of three, he appeared at their front door and she screamed to her mother “mommy there’s a stranger at the door”. Her father was one of the first flight engineers in South Africa, the first for our National airline, he was much in demand during the Second World War, the aftermath and others. During her school years she went from one school to the next, she was often sick and had an undiagnosed learning disability, she could not retain information or learn, she mixed up her words and found it incredibly difficult to study. She finished school early and got a job in the bank.

At 19 she met, fell in love and married a man 10 years her senior, a naval cartographer in whites who was both funny and intelligent. Four years later she fell pregnant with her first child after trying for years, she walked into the hospital room where her mother was lying suffering from one of the strongest forms of leukaemia and said “can we call her after you?”, her mother cried, she died two weeks later from complications. Her husband was now drinking more constantly and eventually she couldn’t take it anymore and decided to separate from him. He begged her to stay promising to give up the drink, she told him that when she got back from her first overseas trip to go meet her penpal overseas she would discuss it with him all the while her heart had already decided, when she returned she would go back to him. He died two weeks into her overseas trip and only found out about his death when she returned home.

Now a newly single mother with a 5 year old child she tried to make ends meet, sold the house and found a small flat in a close suburb. She then met another man who soon became her husband, it was a while before his drinking came out of the closet, a little shortly after that so did the physical and verbal abuse. Two years passed and she fell pregnant with her second child, they moved to a bigger house and settled in. The abuse continued resulting in a relative refusing to visit after staying and the nanny quitting after witnessing the events, she prayed that he would change but he never did.

Events happened that brought about a climax, she couldn’t ignore the danger the she or her children were in any more, the excuses had run dry and too much damage had been done. She packed up her herself and her children moving the very next day, finding a small flat from which she could start rebuilding her life. She went once again to being a single earning parent now with two children, one aged 9 and another aged 2. Things were rough, often all she could feed her children was cereal and bread for breakfast, lunch and supper. She had to accept charity and humility, kindness by others was shown to her often by a friend bringing food and clothes. There were family members that believed she had brought this on herself, they said that she had asked for it marrying scum. Love is blind and people forget that they to make mistakes, she worked long hours trying to make enough money to put food on the table.

Things progressed and finally she managed to get a house that was in her name, finally she owned something that was hers, her children’s, a place to call home. After a while she met some odd men, fell in love, got her heart broken a couple of times and finally she met her third husband. She fell madly in love and finally got married with her children’s consent. This time though she knew at the beginning that he was a recovering alcoholic, he was trying to quit and she thought that she could help him, he needed her. His emotional abuse started coming out a year later, he threw himself down stairs while in Saudi because she refused to move there, she didn’t want to leave her children alone in a country without her. She flew the same day of hearing the news and didn’t see her children for 6 months. Her youngest stayed with her second husband, her eldest in a bording school, homeless on weekends and during school holidays.

At first it was ok, she could come home every six months and was free to fly where she wanted to, life was looking up for her and for the first time in her life she had enough food on her plate, her kids were in school and fully clothed. A year into her living in the foreign country, away from her kids she couldn’t take it anymore all she wanted to do was go home and look after them. Her husband wouldn’t hear any of it to the point that one day took her passport away, she was house bound with no means of escaping. In Saudi you have to carry your passport with you at all times to prove that you were legally there, spot checks often happen and if you’re caught without one it is immediate jail. House bound with no means to flying home to see her children she was left in an emotional hole that she didn’t know how to get out of.

Eventually they decided to buy property in South Africa again and she saw her opening, she had to stay and supervise the house being built and got to see her children for more than just for a couple of weeks at a time, she was home and had her passport safely stored out of his reaches. Life continued, his emotional abuse as well with black mailing and verbally abusing herself and her children.

Slowly her love died and she realised what damage had been done yet again, she realised the reality of her marriage and who her husband really was. One day she got a phone call from a friend in Saudi telling her that her husband was having an affair with her friend over there. That sent ice right through her soul, she then made the decision, she was going to study something for the first time in her life and when she had completed that she was going to leave him.

She walked into a classroom full of fresh school leavers at the age of 47 making her the eldest by far. Although this intimidated her she did not sway, she studied night and day eventually finishing the course third in her class. She was so stunned that she had actually managed to finish the course let alone come third in her class with distinctions, a person who couldn’t finish school now fully qualified.

After qualifying she got divorced and managed to get a job in the industry, once again she was the eldest in the group, she worked hard and eventually 3 years later she was offered a managerial position at another company. She accepted the offer with high hopes only to find a year down the line that her manager and business owner was a manipulative egotistical person who had very few ethics. The victimisation started so did the framing, things went from bad to worse quickly. A few years later she had had enough of being treated as she had always been, like a piece of dirt, she had cracked and started stand up for herself. She had been offered a position of a lifetime, business partner to another agent in the industry. She sought out a lawyer and handed in her resignation not without hesitation but with determination to sort out her life.

She started the company in January this year, loaning money to pay the bills and survive. Determination to make it for the first time in her life coursed through her veins, she started working longer hours, harder hours setting up the business that she now owned. It was hers and things were finally coming together, she now stands up for herself, knows where she wants to go and what she won’t handle or take.

Tomorrow she flies to Dubai, her first official business trip as Director of her own company, tomorrow the realisation of how far she has come will hit her and she will smile and cry tears of happiness. She still can’t believe that she actually deserves all of this, she still has moments where she thinks that she can’t do it but she continues trying. The ultimate came when she heard the news that she has been invited to dinner with the Shiek of Dubai the full impact of how far she had come came when she received an invite to have dinner with the Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia in June…

She has gone from nothing to meeting Princes and Shieks, slowly she is realising that perhaps she can do it, that perhaps she is not as bad as she thinks she is, that luck does come to good people and that anything in life is possible as long as you stick with it, if you never stop hoping or dreaming, anything is really possible.

I am so proud of my mother, her life has not been easy and yet she has never stopped trying, never let her past stop her from living or dreaming, she has never blamed anything on her past. She has finally made it at the age of 54 after three abusive marriages, uphills and downhill’s, she has made it.

Anything in life is possible no matter where you come from as long as you never stop hoping or dreaming…

in this proud land we grew up strong
we were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

no fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
but no one wants you when you lose

don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not beaten yet
don’t give up
I know you can make it good

though I saw it all around
never thought that I could be affected
thought that we’d be the last to go
it is so strange the way things turn

drove the night toward my home
the place that I was born, on the lakeside
as daylight broke, I saw the earth
the trees had burned down to the ground

don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up
we don’t need much of anything
don’t give up
’cause somewhere there’s a place
where we belong

rest your head
you worry too much
it’s going to be alright
when times get rough
you can fall back on us
don’t give up
please don’t give up

‘got to walk out of here
I can’t take anymore
going to stand on that bridge
keep my eyes down below
whatever may come
and whatever may go
that river’s flowing
that river’s flowing

moved on to another town
tried hard to settle down
for every job, so many men
so many men no-one needs

don’t give up
’cause you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not the only one
don’t give up
no reason to be ashamed
don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up now
we’re proud of who you are
don’t give up
you know it’s never been easy
don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s a place
there’s a place where we belong


9 thoughts on “From nothing to meeting King’s and Shiek’s

  1. REMAARRKAAABLE IS NOT THE WORD HERE! Fantastic…Please pass on my HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS TO HER. Tell her she is truly a super woman and a MOM. Wat an inspiring story.

  2. Awws thanks you will pass it on 🙂 shame she is so so nervous today but ready for this new chapter – I didn’t help by accidentally forgetting her new jewellery in my handbag before I left so now she is sans the new stuff… typical!

  3. What an inspiring story – better than fiction! Congratulations to your mom! Don’t worry about the jewelry. Maybe the Prince will give her something!

  4. Hey Aud: I would be proud if she were my mom as well; to have come so far after facing such odds is a testament to never, ever giving up. And, the fact that even though she could have, she did not let the past dictate her future. That is both inspiring and amazing; now, in spite of everything she has been through, she is making her own choices and living life on her own terms. You can take comfort in knowing that some of her strength most likely has rubbed off on you; seems so anyway.

    And, this is one of my fave tunes of all time……V.

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