After all I have been through and everything this life has thrown at me, I have continued to focus on my goals and better my own circumstances. Today, I am a Psychology Graduate, candidate for honours in Communications, author of a book and a Managing Director of a media house.
Johannesburg, South Africa – Linda Maponyane may have started as a Domestic Worker, but the determined South African did not let her circumstances determine her future, and never gave up on her dreams of getting a degree or owning her own business!
Maponyane’s life has never been easy, and she has had to face many hardships head-on. She grew up in Soweto but was moved to 7 homes during that time which brought about strong feelings of rejection.
In 2003, at the age of 18, the young South African found a job working as a domestic worker in Mulbarton, South of Johannesburg. A month after starting that job, her boss at the time got her another job in the corporate world… as a cleaner and tea lady.
“I knew that this wasn’t my destiny. I knew that there was something greater in store for me, and I knew that the only way I could achieve my dreams was to do everything in my power to work towards them.”
In 2005, Maponyane registered for her psychology degree which took over ten years to achieve because not only was she the only breadwinner in her household, but at the time, she also had to rebuild her mother’s home after the family lost everything in heavy rains.
Balancing work and studies was incredibly difficult and while the world slept, Maponyane would stay awake until the early hours of the morning, making sure she was keeping up-to-date with all her studies.
“It took me a decade to finish my part-time degree while I carried all the responsibilities that demanded my pocket. I continued working as a cleaner but studied whenever I could.”
It was also during that time that Maponyane faced and survived two separate rape incidences after being kidnapped, robbed, beaten and left bleeding for over 7 hours.
“While in the pursuit of my destiny, I got kidnapped, robbed and raped and ended up in theatre having to stop bleeding that went on for more than 7 hours. I was left of ARV’s for 28 and STI 3 months later.”
The rate of sexual violence in South Africa is among the highest in the world, with recent police statistics putting the number of reported sexual offences in the country for 2018 at 52 420 separate cases but the sad reality is that rape is also considered the most underreported violent crime which means that this number is far greater.
The heartbreaking encounter did not stop the determined South African who not only wrote her perpetrator a letter to forgive him, but she also went on to write a book documenting her tragic experience to try and help others.
“I found myself under conviction, having written a letter of forgiveness to my rapist so that I could free myself and take back my life.
I then decided to put my words to paper and wrote a book to try to help as many women as possible who were raped, molested and abused, to rise the pain of these heartbreaking encounters. Also, to give courage that no situation is permanent. One can rise against all odds.”
Maponyane stayed true to her goals and continued to study. Her biggest lesson is that certain things will happen through you, but they are not about you; that you are ultimately in control of your destiny!
“After all I have been through and everything this life has thrown at me, I have continued to focus on my goals and better my own circumstances.
Today, I am a Psychology Graduate, candidate for honours in Communications, author of a book called “Shadows of my Scars” and a Managing Director of Kenako Media House.
My story is not very different from other South Africans, but I’m hoping that by sharing it, I can uplift and inspire others.
We can rise and win!”