Nompilo Sokhulu

My name is Nompilo Sokhulu and I was born on 9 September 1988 on a small farm called Mona, near Tongaat. My parents are Bonginkosi Albert and Silindile Thobela Sokhulu.

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Both my parents have never worked in their life. I was raised under very difficult circumstances. My parents used to tell our family that one day things would come right, but we children did not know what they meant and why they kept on saying it, because things did not improve.

I remember that we kept struggling, including finding something to eat, particularly in the morning before we went to school.

My mother used to scold at me for visiting friends in the neighbourhood, but my mother did not know my reason for doing so. I was hungry and hoping to get something to eat.

I completed my matric at Emashiyamahle Secondary School in 2006.

After school, I studied hospitality management in Durban but I did not complete this course because my parents could not continue to pay my college fees. I enjoyed the course and learnt much about hotels and the tourism industry as a whole.

After leaving college, I struggled to find a job and in the end turned to hairdressing, first in Verulam from 2009 to 2011 and then Tongaat from 2011 to 2013. But life was tough and sometimes I could not pay my rent. As a result, I left hairdressing and returned home where I stayed unemployed.

I was employed in Celrose 9 months ago as a trainee sewing machinist.

I am currently on a learnership and learning to sew sleeves. I never dreamt of being a machinist, but I had to take this job to feed my family.

I live with my two children in a mud house in the Emona area. With my wages, I feed my kids and try to support 15 other family members. As a household, our other income is the grants for my mother and my siblings’ children. The total household income is R2000 per week which we use to buy groceries, for everyday family needs and to pay my transport to go to work.

I hope to continue my studies in future. My dream is to change my family’s situation for the better and to give my children a good education.