My Childhood

By Thinanda Proudance Sinyosi • July 18, 2016

Every childhood is meant to be a happy one filled with so much joy and excitement. I can't say I didn't have that. Growing up in Vleifontein ,Louis Trichardt as a popular child that kids loved in my neighbourhood. I was always happy and could be bossy at times.I lived with my grandmother, mother and sister and cousins in a two bedroom house but I loved that. Our house wasn't big enough for all of us but there was so much love.

My 6th birthday party, that was the first party I had and the last. I didn't come from a rich background but on my 6th birthday my mom went all out to make that day memorable for me.I still remember it even now. Playing with my friends and them singing for me.I felt so loved and important that day.

I still remember my first day of school. I was so excited, but the only thing that was missing was that my mom couldn't take me to school. My sister had to play the role of a mother because my mother was working far.She was the breadwinner, and my grandmother used to get pension money and that helped us as well. My sister walked me to school wearing her school uniform, she was in high school already. She cleaned me up well, I was wearing a brand new school uniform. When I got to school as a grade 1 pupil I had to go find my way to class since my sister had to go to school too. I was so scared and felt so lost. Other kids came with their parents and I was all alone. I felt so lost until I was placed in a class with other pupils. I was very quiet and shy on my first day but I had my bestfriend (Muofhe Mushia).She was an Angel sent from above. We lived in the same street and she always had my back in school. We where in the same class until Grade 4. Grade 4 2003.

An addition to my family had been added. My mother got another child, a baby boy. He only turned 1 year the February 28th but the worst happened in the year of 2003.I lost my grandmother, my mother wasn't coping at all. She drank more,didnt sleep at home. I sometimes had to babysit my 1 year old brother. Everything was starting to fall apart, until one day at school a friend of my mother came to fetch me.I knew it wasn't good news but as a child you don't worry.My mother past away that afternoon while I was at school.The look on my sisters face I still see it even today. She looked so helpless. Imagine having to take care of a 9 year old and a 1 year old at the age of 19.But family came through for us at that moment. My brother stayed with my aunt in Limpopo Nzhelele Ha Rabali.My sister stayed in Vleifontein and me...What happened with me?

I was taken by my cousin and he brought me to Johannesburg. I thought I was going to stay with him but no, that wasn't his plan. We arrived in Johannesburg on a Sunday and early Monday morning he told me to bath and he took my bag and put it in the car. He took me to Vereeniging CBD,NG Kerk Welsyn. He was in the office talking to the social worker for such a long time. I was then taken to a safe house in Vereeniging, staying with total strangers.

I cried most of the nights, not understanding why I was brought here. I lived with other kids but there was a language barrier since they all spoke Afrikaans and all I knew was Tshivenda and a bit of English.

Days went by, I had to read Afrikaans books to learn the language because I wanted to go to an Afrikaans school. The house mother at the safe house was very strict and sometimes abusive. She would force me to read 2 or more Afrikaans stories a day and I still had to explain them to her. As a child I thought it was punishment but it helped me in the long run.

Within 2 months I could speak fluent Afrikaans. But staying at the safe house wasn't what I wanted. I had thoughts of running away and staying on the streets.

That same year December 25th my family came to fetch me so I can spend Christmas day with them. The house mother(Tannie Anneke) told me that I should tell them that I don't want to be with them or else she was going to beat me up when I come back. I was only 10 years old and yes, she used to beat us up. I had to chase my family away. Watching my sister walk away killed me.All I did was cry. I was so hurt and I knew I wasn't going to see my family until it was school holidays. I had to spend my Christmas with strangers, with people who donate food and clothes to the safe house. They took us to Emerald Casino. We went swimming and we ate, as a 10 year old that was fun and it made me forget of what happened earlier on.

But something else happened December 2003.I was told I was no longer going to stay there. I lived there for 6 months and I was emotionally and physically abused. This was a place where I was supposed to feel safe at but instead I was treated badly. When I heard the good news I was so happy. I couldn't wait to move house.

I was then moved to an orphanage in Vereening, Catherine Robson Kinderhuis. It was much better there.I made friends and I had an older sister that moved with me from the old safe house(Adri Thomas).So I felt safe.

Living in an orphanage is not bad at all. I had a bed and got 3 meals a day. I met so many people but I was still emotionally damaged from what happened. I moved to the orphanage in 2004 and I was still in grade 4 because they had to take me one grade back since I didn't know Afrikaans so well.

I met so many influential people, some where good and bad. Other kids where out of control. They would run away, some where doing drugs. I chose to be different. I just wanted to go to school and do well so I can take care of my brother. I had to be my own mother. I lived there for 5 years and I turned out to be a good girl. I didn't drink, do drugs or smoke not even once. It was tough having to be the odd one out. I was excluded from many things and other kids would make racial remarks since I was black and there where so many white people. But I remained strong with the help of (Tannie Ria and Tannie Sunett)They where there for me throughout and they treated me like their child. I would go visit them on weekends and spend time with their daughter Sune.

My cousin then went through the whole adoption process to and it was successful. He took me in and I stayed with his wife and kid. It was okay. But I wasn't happy. I wasn't as close to them as I was with Tannie Ria. I had wished that they never took me away from the Orphanage.

I stayed there for 4 years. But the hardest year was my matric year in 2012.I felt all alone,hopeless,helpless,depressed.I had no support at all. This was the most important year of my life but it turned out to be the worst. I wasn't coping at all.I lost so much weight but my friends where there for me.The problem was at home, where there was no love or communication all there was,was commands. I felt out of place. I wanted out of this world. I didn't see a need to be this world.

Thoughts that came to mind where. I wasn't good enough. I want to die. No one cares or will miss me.I wrote my matric exams, truthfully speaking I studied but not hard enough but because I couldn't cope. I got my exam results and they where not good at all. Things started changing at home. I was working during the December holidays so I made some money. I decided to go register with star schools so I can re-write the subjects I didn't do well in but that was a problem. I had to ask for a refund.

What hit me hard was some time in January 2013 when I got a WhatsApp message from someone I stay with, who is supposed to be my guider, someone who adopted me legally and said he would take care of me.

The message red as follows:

From tomorrow onwards you will be staying with someone else. You can pack your bags and catch a taxi to their place. I was only 18 years old. I felt like they failed me in so many ways.

Questions that went through my mind where:

1. How can your own family do such to you?

2. What is wrong with me?

3. Why am I always rejected wherever I go?

And even now I still don't have answers to that.

I have a job, I'm taking myself to school all that is outstanding is my own place. I believe I'm doing well for myself. But trust me.I wouldn't have done it without my Father, my God.Hes been there for me through tough times and has never failed me until today.

I've learnt the hard way but it taught me to be stronger and firm. I believe in second chances and God has given me those. One day when I have all I need and my brother and sister is well off. I want to make a change a in someone's life. Someone who is going through what I went through because if I made it anyone can.

Just believe in yourself. Surround yourself with positive people. Know that God and Gods word is the way forward. Know that you are the head and not the tail.

My favourite verse:

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

By Thinanda Proudance Sinyosi,  Born 1993, F, from Johannesburg, South Africa

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