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Sylvester Mashilo...Mokubedi, Moepya, Manthata? A Product of Rape but I am Chosen by God

Sylvester Mashilo...Mokubedi, Moepya, Manthata? A Product of Rape but I am Chosen by God

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Sylvester Mashilo...Mokubedi, Moepya, Manthata? A Product of Rape but I am Chosen by God

Longitud:
229 página
3 horas
Publicado:
Oct 31, 2020
ISBN:
9780620893077
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

A beguiling and introspective memoir from first-time author, Sylvester Mashilo Moepya that follows him on his journey littered with misfortunes, challenges and successes. It places the spotlight on mental illnesses, infidelity, promiscuity, identity, deep reflection, faith, self-affirmation, courage and authenticity and eventual redemption.  Sylvester's voyage is about seeking faith, truth and a life centred on morality, a life devoted to doing all that pleases God and not man.  As said in 2 Timothy 2:21 "Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work".

 

I hope that by reading this book you will extricate lessons of a life that was in ruins but received redemption through grace that abounds when you are in Christ. We often feel like we have free licence to be reckless throughout our lives because 'we only live once' but truth be told, we live every day and only die once. So while we are here, let us strive to be better every day, to be kind to ourselves and at peace with the world around us.

Publicado:
Oct 31, 2020
ISBN:
9780620893077
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor


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Sylvester Mashilo...Mokubedi, Moepya, Manthata? A Product of Rape but I am Chosen by God - Sylvester Mashilo Moepya

Moepya

Preface

My voyage is about seeking faith, truth and a life centred on morality, a life devoted to doing all that pleases God and not man.  As said in 2 Timothy 2:21:  ‘Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work’.

I hope that by reading this book you will extricate lessons of a life that was in ruins but received redemption through grace that abounds when you are in Christ. We often feel like we have free licence to be reckless throughout our lives because ‘we only live once’ but truth be told, we live every day and only die once. So while we are here, let us strive to be better every day, to be kind to ourselves and to others and be at peace with the world around us.

My journey has not been a pretty one.  It hasn’t been all plain sailing. I’ve done some things in my life that I’m not proud of but am thankful for having gone through those trials and tribulations as they have led me on a road towards the one I am on now, one that is a reflection of my true self.  I have learnt to take in only that what strengthens me.

For it was God’s Choice (1984)

A child is born

A child is born

Free his heart from all hatred and scorn

Let him find his own identity within


A child is born

To a world full of double dealings

A society damned by sin and deception


A child is born

To bring hope to hearts of despair

Despair not, for this child is the light

Weep no more for the future descends upon his face


A child is born

For a purpose more personified

For another day to be remembered

Remember that this child is the eyes of God

The eyes that will not tell a lie


A child is born

A child is born as a living sacrifice

Mould this child with abstract reasoning

Perchance this child is God’s promise to you

These reflections began on 16 November 2009 at 8:32am. On the side of the road on the N1 Highway headed towards Polokwane. A true homecoming; back to my roots.

I wrote the poem A child is born somewhere between 2000 and 2002. Little did I know at the time, that the words I used to pour my heart out at a time of great despair would be very prophetic. The journey started in the early morning of 6 May with Braxton Hicks contractions and lasted the whole day. On the early morning of 7 May, they became serious and I was taken to hospital. I was so naive because I thought I am about to receive something for the pain. All this time the only thing that I could stomach was oranges. Little did I know that I will have to endure this pain through to Wednesday (the whole day) until 6:45pm. I was pale when I gave birth to this handsome boy. His cries filled the maternity room. – Mosima Grace Mokubedi (my mother, my rock, my pillar of strength, my heartbeat and my best friend).

I was born Sylvester Mashilo Mokubedi in the southern hemisphere’s autumn of 1984 on 9 May at 5:30pm at the Polokwane Hospital in Polokwane which used to be called Pietersburg and is the capital city of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. It’s South Africa's largest urban centre north of Gauteng and is known for being the centre of an ancient African kingdom at Mapungubwe National Park that dates back to the 11 th Century. My mother’s cousin, the late Thupana, declared that if I was a boy, I would be known as Abram and Abrina if I was a girl. And so, my family in honour of him called me Abram. Throughout my life, I would be known by many names. Many of which were not my official names but nonetheless, they stuck. My earliest recollection is from when I was about four years old. I vividly recall my mother, Mosima, also known as Grace buying me a tricycle for my birthday. I was so in love with it that I rode it until the wheels literally fell off. That sadly was the last big present I would receive until 1998 when Mama bought me a TV game, what was then the equivalent of an Xbox. The house was always filled with envious boys from around the neighbourhood who wanted a piece of the action. I ruled the roost with that console! I have found that as an adult, I have at times overcompensated for the areas in my childhood when materialism was lacking, by buying toys or presents for my children and others. I have found that toys allow the mind and the imagination to grow and teach skills that we take for granted such as mechanical and spatial reasoning. We learn these skills best through experiential learning and our brains are wired with great effect when we learn these skills at an early age. Whilst reminiscing, I recalled there was a time when I didn’t like my photo being taken but how things have changed. Over the years, I have become a big collector of memories and always make sure that I record a piece of every day in one form or another. The change in wanting to sentimentally collect memories coincided with me becoming a father. It dawned on me how little I knew about my childhood because I didn’t have reference material such as photos and I didn’t want my sons to feel the same way. I only have one picture of me as a baby and it’s only one of three that I have of the first seven years of my life. It had actually gone missing for the better part of a decade until in a surreal moment, it was found. I had for many years argued with Mama that she had the pictures but she was adamant that I had them in my possession. On 24 March 2020, I marched into her house and lamented that I still hadn’t found my baby pictures. She then exclaimed with excitement that she found the two pictures while she was going through some of her things the day before. My excitement at the discovery of my baby pictures far outweighed the poor quality of the graphics. I was just happy that there were at least a few mementoes that captured the happiest time of my life. The pictures are of such sentimental value that their value outweighs the obvious lack of quality. In a way, it goes to show how much technology has changed in the last three decades because if they were digital copies, they would still be perfect. Lucky for me I also have a lovely photo of me and Mmanoko Makgoka, my first official girlfriend when I was a young boy. I must have been quite the charmer, no different to what I hear I am still like to this day but more about that later.

So to start at the beginning of my story, my first home was a rondavel, a traditional circular African dwelling with a conical thatched roof. It’s a humble dwelling that was common in Mmakgodu, a village north of Polokwane about 30km from the city centre and is located in the Capricorn District Municipality. The rondavel was home to our family of five which consisted of my late grandmother who I called Mma Rosina Mokubedi, born Rosina Kobela Mogale; my maternal uncle Peter Madimetja Mokubedi; my late uncle Andries Malesela Mokubedi and my cousin Samuel Letjeka Manamela. For my readers who don’t understand South African vernacular, the word Mma or boMma is Sepedi for mother, one of South Africa’s twelve official languages. She was from a village called GaDikgale also in the Limpopo Province; Letjeka and I were inseparable from a young age and still are today. He and I share a blood-brother relationship that has, at its core several similarities. Such as the fact that our mothers had us at a young age and because of this they were largely absent in our formative years. This was because they stayed with relatives far from home whilst completing their schooling. Our mothers also studied to be teachers. At this time in our lives, we all used our English names, however, as you will see later, we all started using our African names more frequently post 1994, but I’m still moonlighting between all my names. For a large part of my life, my maternal family called me Abram as well as all my childhood friends from Limpopo. To this day, I still cringe when I hear anybody call me Abram because I think I ought to be called Abraham (my obviously ripe fertility rate with three boys so confirms as Abraham in the bible has many). Abraham is more apt not only because Abram is poorly pronounced by my family and society at large but because Abraham is biblically the signalling of a new covenant with Christ as was the case with Abraham at the ripe old age of 99. I also go by the nickname Abe and I would also be called Mmata by my friends during my days at Groblersdal Primary School. Mmata is Sepedi slang for friend or mate. On the other hand, my friends from Settlers and Clapham High School called me Sly or Sly-Fox. These multitude of names are in a way symbolic of my well-travelled life as I was born in Limpopo and spent the first seven years of my life there before moving to Mpumalanga for nine years and then to Gauteng for the past 20 years. In total, I attended four primary schools and four high schools. I collected all these different names from the adventure that was my childhood. I was born Mokubedi and when my mother got married my surname changed to Moepya in 1993. For a period of two years in 2018 and 2019, I identified myself as Manthata and initiated a process to officially change my surname. However, what has remained constant throughout my 36 years of life has been my two names, Sylvester Mashilo. You could say that I was and still am a colourful creature if you judge by the many names and the number of schools that I attended throughout my lifetime.

So boMma was a single mother for many years as Samuel Letjeka Mokubedi; my polygamous grandfather had passed away shortly before my birth in 1983. So she, the poor woman, on a domestic worker’s salary was left alone to raise six children. It would’ve been seven but unfortunately, one son died at birth. Compounding this situation was that she also had three grandchildren at the time to care for. BoMma was engaged to marry Samuel’s brother but he tragically passed away in a car accident. As was customary in those days, Samuel did the honourable thing and married my grandmother. And so he had two homes to care for. To assist boMma and spread the burden, our mothers were cared for by various extended family members from the time they were in primary school until they started college. Mama would tell me how poor they were and how they would eat dry bread crumbs, ‘le koko’ or pap with water. It is these extreme living conditions that drove boMma’s children to be unexpected successes. Unexpected because the odds were stacked against them from the word go. What is common amongst all but two of boMma’s children is that they all studied teaching but Uncle Madimetja would only use his teaching qualifications much later in his life as he began his working life in the administrative department of the education system as a clerk. In those days, a clerk was a well-respected profession and the salary was not bad at all judging by Madimetja’s ability to pay for his sibling’s education and he also managed to build a family home consisting of seven rooms. This was a mega improvement from our rondavel days and later we would move into a newly built three-room house with a separate kitchen. The three-room house best-resembled teacher’s quarters, for those of us who can recall how teacher’s accommodation on school premises used to look. They were like one long corridor with little architectural creativity. Each teacher would have his or her room adjoined to those of their colleagues. This accommodation was mainly for teachers who were from ‘out of town’. I never questioned why they were called quarters, but I imagine it was due to the size of the rooms, a forerunner of the RDP houses that would be the hallmark of the social housing system of South Africa post-1994. A bit of history for those who don’t know, RDP stands for Reconstruction and Development Programme, a South African socio-economic policy framework implemented by the African National Congress (ANC) government of Nelson Mandela in 1994 after months of discussions, consultations and negotiations between the ANC, its alliance partners which included the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party as well as mass organisations in wider civil society. The RDP aimed to build decent and affordable shelter for all citizens.

Getting back to my childhood, I can without equivocation say that the first seven years of my life were the best. They were filled with the sorts of experiences that define a childhood. I recall playing with toy boats and having races during rainy weather where the track would go on for miles on end. Life was simple. I would get up in the morning and couldn’t wait to play with my many friends. There were many indigenous games we played such as three tins, dibeke and diketo. You would recognise me from the pale dusty look of my skin after a long days play. My childhood was also filled with abundant love from my maternal family even though we didn’t have much in the way of material things. I can count on one hand the number of times that boMma shouted or used corporal punishment to discipline me. You know, BoMma was a fantastic storyteller and I learnt the art of storytelling from her. She was also a people’s person and would not miss an event happening in the community whether it be a funeral, wedding or another celebration. BoMma instilled such good qualities in me like resilience, self-affirmation, resourcefulness and a sense of community. BoMma had no formal schooling but she was sharp as a tack especially when it came to money. She couldn’t speak any English save for a few words here and there but she was fluent in Afrikaans. Afrikaans is one of South Africa’s twelve official languages, a language that was very much intertwined with the Apartheid system in South Africa. But boy, could she curse in Afrikaans when she was cross. I can recall words such as ‘Aag nee man, sis tog’ when she vehemently disagreed with a behaviour or action. One thing that always made me crack up was when boMma used to speak to herself. She would break into a monologue usually complaining about something or other. When boMma was upset she would remind us who our mothers were and that it definitely wasn’t her! I look back with fond memories of her big heart and her love for her family.

My mother fell pregnant with me in her Standard 9 year, present-day Grade 11, when she was 18. Her innocence blinded her to the reality that she was carrying a child and she was startled to learn that she was pregnant. This resulted in her leaving VP Manthata Secondary School and going to Rampo Secondary School which was in a neighbouring village to GaManthata to complete Standard 10 in 1985. GaManthata is a village about 80km from Polokwane and is under the tribal leadership of the Manthata royal family. Limpopo has many such villages that are named after the chiefs and kings that made the villages’ home during apartheid South Africa. Anyway, there isn’t a big gap between Mama and me as she had me so young that for the first nine years of my life, I actually called her sesi, being the SePedi word for sister, usually an older sister or a female sibling or relative. I have a faint recollection of knowing that she was my biological mother at the time. In all honesty, she was absent for various reasons, some known to me some not known so I didn’t spend a lot of time with her. BoMma played the role of substitute mother so well that I didn’t feel like I lacked anything. I consider that I have taken after my mother where intellect is concerned as she was and still is a highly intelligent woman. She regrettably did not achieve the grades that she was primed for as one could imagine an unplanned teenage pregnancy was a setback in all facets of her young life but she did go on to complete a Teaching Diploma at Bochum Teachers College in 1992. She today holds

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