Featured Storyteller

SOUTH AFRICA: The Rise of a Scorned Child

Jane
Posted October 10, 2019 from South Africa

After a painful childhood, Jane was determined to raise her own children with abundant love. 

“I managed to turn the hatred I experienced as a child into a bigger love—a love big enough to share with the nation.

Children rarely remember what we do as parents. They do remember how we make them feel. If you have made a child feel loved, you can be assured that despite any other decisions you have made that day, you have succeeded as a parent. I learned this lesson painfully, as a child who mostly felt scorn from my parents. 

I am the third daughter in my family, with two older sisters. I thought we looked alike as sisters, but I was the only one who was constantly told how dark I was, how ugly, how useless, how unlovable I was. My mother used to call me mnyamane when she felt annoyed by my presence. It means dark as a black coal. The name stuck with me until I got married and had my own home and children. 

I started to ask myself whether I was born into this family, and whether I had another mother somewhere. I never understood why I was treated differently. 

As a scorned girl child, you lose your self-esteem and start to consider yourself an ugly loser who will never do good in your life as a child, adult, mother, or wife. Those words echo in your head all the time, no matter how hard you try to stop them. All the good you do looks bad in your eyes because that is the picture of yourself painted in your heart and mind. 

As a child, I always had these messages in my head, but I kept my eyes on my own goal to be a better person. I kept hoping to make my parents proud. Even though my intelligence was never noted or acknowledged, I was the brightest of my siblings. My parents knew it deep down and my schoolwork proved it.

I had to wear shoes with no soles to school and I could feel rocks piercing my feet, but I never ceased going to school. My dangarie (school dress) covered a big hole from an iron burn in the back of my shirt, but that never stopped me from focusing on my goal. I never repeated a class and never failed any tests. I was the first to pass my matriculation exam while the favorite siblings dropped out. 

When my siblings were registered into a private school, I had to stay and do labor work with my grandmother. Even that didn’t break me but made me become the strong woman that I am today. 

Through all these years, instead of growing with resentment, I grew up loving and longing for love. At times, I received love from the wrong people who wanted to take advantage of my innocence, including some of my teachers. I had to be smart and protect myself as I had no one who cared enough to guide me and tell me about the cruelty of the world. I learned to grow up quickly.

When I was a child, there was one time when a well-known singer came to play at a nearby hall. My parents decided to take my siblings to go see this singer perform. I thought I also deserved to be there, so I followed them. A security guard picked me up and shouted into the hall before the performance started, asking if anyone knew who I was. My parents didn’t speak up and hid their faces in shame. Our neighbor, who was also attending the performance, had to come and get me from the security guard. 

Due to my experiences of rejection, I am strong at heart as well as physically. I can survive anywhere in the world, even in the desert. I can turn a leaf into a meal to feed my own family because I learned how to make a house a warm home.

Because I know the pain of being scorned, I could never inflict that pain on anyone. I could never look down on anyone for their looks or status, or make any of my children feel less loved. 

Looking back on my life, I would tell a child going through similar pain to embrace the challenges that make you strong. Today, the girl they called mnyamane is a woman featured in calendars and international magazines. I am a graduate and mother of the most beautiful children, who came from the darkest coal's womb. My children adore and respect me and are proud to call me mommy. 

My children’s father passed on when they were still toddlers, yet I managed to play the role of a mother and father; I managed to turn grass into chicken to feed my children. Most importantly, I managed to turn the hatred I experienced as a child into a bigger love—a love big enough to share with the nation.

No matter what you have been put through, you are definitely not a mistake. No matter what your goal and no matter who is trying to destroy it, don't give up. Keep moving forward—in silence when needed—and when you come out on top, you will surprise even your most avid hater.

Ultimately, your happiness depends on your self-reliance—your unshakable willingness to take responsibility for your life from this moment forward. It’s about taking control of your present circumstances, thinking for yourself, and making a firm choice to choose differently. It’s about being the hero of your life, not the victim. 

You go, girl! You are the future mother of the nation. No matter your past, you are capable of giving birth to a president of the country, a doctor to heal the world, a teacher to teach the nation.

You have the power to turn your wounds and worries into wisdom. I was once caught into believing the names I was called: useless, ugly, mnyamane, stupid, good for nothing girl. Now I am free in my beautiful, fearless, loving, and loved human nature. You can be free too.


STORY AWARDS

This story was published as part of the World Pulse Story Awards program in celebration of Day of the Girl. We believe every woman has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could receive added visibility, or even be our next Featured Storyteller! Learn more.

Comments 68

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Tarke Edith
Oct 10
Oct 10

Hi Jane
Congratulations sister you have educate us with your story
Thanks for sharing you have done a great job
Be blessed sister

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

Thank you kindly Tarke

djamila ibrahim olame

Hello dear Jane,
Merci beaucoup de partagé cette histoire si touchante, mais je suis inspiré.
Passez une bonne nuit !

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

Merci my sister Djamila

maeann
Oct 10
Oct 10

Hi Jane,

Thank you for inspiring us with how you raise your children with abundant love despite of how you grow up.

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

I am honored and humbled my sister, thank you so much

Jane
Oct 11
Oct 11

Congratulations to you too my dear sister

maeann
Oct 12
Oct 12

Thank you i am humbled...

Lisbeth
Oct 10
Oct 10

Dear Aunty Jane,
Congratulations on your award :-). Pls don't forget to invite me for the party haha.
Happy international girls day to you and let's keep sharing our stories for #change
Hugs

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

You just gave me the idea, it would be great to celebrate with all of you... let me start arranging :) thank you so much my sister

Lisbeth
Oct 11
Oct 11

Haha :-).
Am waiting for my invite
Hugs

Jane
Oct 30
Oct 30

I have received and going to spoil my community ladies this Saturday, you wanna join us? :)

Lisbeth
Oct 31
Oct 31

Oh yeah! Count me in haha
Enjoy ooo but take care :-)
Regards

Hello, Sister Jane,

Yay! Congratulations on being a Featured Storyteller! I have been rooting for you for a long time. Finally, you made it! Please continue to inspire us with your experiences.

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

Oh Karen, you bring tears in my eyes...thank you so much for all your encouragement and support. I wouldn't be here if you haven't motivated me. Thank you so much I am humbled and really honored. I so wish you could see my face right now..teary

Hugs, dear sis Jane!

I remember how you were hesitant to write this piece because Oct 1 was about to end, but thank God for the difference in time zone, you submitted it on schedule.

You made it! I celebrate with you. Your victory is our victory!

The pleasure is mine! South Africa needs a voice as strong as yours. Well done!

Anita Shrestha
Oct 10
Oct 10

Thank you for sharing, keep it continue

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

Thanks for the support Anita

Dr Jackie
Oct 10
Oct 10

This just so strong a message and compelling story. Jane thank you for sharing and thank you for loving your kids! It's the best gift they can ever have. And you are Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheers and congratulations!

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

Oh Dr Jacky, I am truly humbled, thank you so much and I feel beautiful through your words right now. Thanks so much from the deepest of my heart.

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

I'm humbled and grateful for this opportunity not forgetting the support and encouragement from the 1st time I became part of World Pulse, to our Ambassadors who consistently encourages us to "voice out" the whole team of World Pulse, my beautiful awesome ladies, thank you so much. I am truly honored to be part of this great team and I am learning from you day in and out. Karen, Jill and the rest of you, I will always remember how you keep motivating me and I am here due to those motivations and helped me to get this wonderful opportunity. Kim Crane, thank you for taking your time in helping me with the editing I can only hope that someday I'll be in a position to repay you. not forgetting Corine Milano for blessing me with the honorary. Thank you so much for all you have done to help . Let us continue voicing out as we help and encourage each other using this platform.

We love you, sister Jane! Congratulations on being a World Pulse Ambassador, and now another feather on your hat, a Featured Storyteller.

We are so happy that you are here. You inspired us with your life experiences. Oh, please write a memoir. Your life story is so inspiring!

The women and girls on South Africa can have a brighter future because of you, sister. Keep the flame burning!

Congrats again!

Jane
Oct 10
Oct 10

Thanks again once more...on my toes :)

You’re welcome, dear sis!

Elizabeth Ziro
Oct 11
Oct 11

Wow! what a lovely read. You have really inspired me. Congratulations are in order

Jane
Oct 11
Oct 11

Thank you kindly my sister Elizabeth

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Oct 11
Oct 11

Beautiful Story
Beautiful Face
Congratulations.
Please Follow Me Back

Jane
Oct 11
Oct 11

Thank you so much my sister. Humbled

Nosipho Plaatjie
Oct 11
Oct 11

What a wonderful story. I'm glad you got over it. That is very important. Resilience that's what we need. I pray that other girls especially those i work with would acquire that. May Hod continue to bless you and your children. I have learnt from yoir story

Jane
Oct 12
Oct 12

Thank you so much my sister I am glad the story could help my other sisters who might have been on the same situation to continue to shine.. Appreciate themselves and walk tall :)

Marie Abanga
Oct 11
Oct 11

Dear Jane,

Congratulations. Why some of us had to grow up through so much pain may only be explained by the purpose we have come to find was ours after all. Thank you for sharing your story, you look so pretty and I can feel the Love oozing inside out.

Thanks for sharing dear sister. indeed it's tauching.

Jane
Oct 12
Oct 12

You welcome my sister.. I'm glad I could open up

Millynairi
Oct 12
Oct 12

Congratulations dear Jane,
This is a nice story. I have learnt never to scorn because you were scorned but to be positive and make a difference in your life and the lives of your family . Thanks for sharing.
Millie

Jane
Oct 12
Oct 12

Thank you soo much my sister I'm glad I could inspire those who might have been in a same position and how to walk tall out of it.

ARREY- ECHI
Oct 12
Oct 12

Hello Jane,
Congratulations for the story award. I would say well deserved too.

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us. I am especially glad, you didn't let the labels, scorn and rejection make you into a bitter person.

You are beautiful and lovable and I sure would be proud if you were my mum.

So many beautiful life lessons here.

Congratulations again.

Love from Cameroon.

Jane
Oct 12
Oct 12

Oh you bring tears in my eyes.. I'm so humbled thanks so much and I am glad I could open up to share

efe
Oct 12
Oct 12

Your story brought tears to my eyes, I was fat and got taunted by my peers. Made me feel unattractive for many years till I got to the university and someone said to me 'you are beautiful' and for the first time I believed so glad you made lemonade out of lemons

Jane
Oct 12
Oct 12

My sister Efe I'm so glad that you managed to listen to that 1st voice you heard and decided to believe it. That was a best thing you could do for yourself.. To believe for yourself not for anyone else. You are indeed beautiful as long as that beauty comes from within yourself it automatically reflect from outside for the world to see. Walk tall.... I love you

Jill Langhus
Oct 13
Oct 13

Hello Dear Jane,

Big congrats on winning the story award with your powerful story! May you inspire many with your story!

XX

Jane
Oct 14
Oct 14

Thank you Jill, I am truly inspired and you motivation keeps me going and the would is sealed and feel like a new person all together. Thank you

Jill Langhus
Oct 14
Oct 14

You're very welcome, dear:-)

Great to hear! Yay!

Hope you have a great week, dear!

XX

Jane
Oct 14
Oct 14

I must really stress this out, your motivation towards all this made me a better person and managed to write a short one about forgiveness...you must check it out :) thanks a mil Jill from my heart .
Have a great week ahead

xxx

Jill Langhus
Oct 14
Oct 14

Awesome! Thanks for sharing. I'll check it out!

You're welcome:-)

Thank you!

xx

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 13
Oct 13

Dear Jane,
We read such powerful stories here and witness such wonderful work. You have reminded us all that it is possible to overcome deeply hurtful and completely unfair treatment, with your wise encouraging words: "You have the power to turn your wounds and worries into wisdom". Knowing what you have been able to live through with your generous heart gives such hope for what is possible. Thank you for sharing so openly this message of endurance and trust in your own beautiful spirit.

Jane
Oct 14
Oct 14

I truly humbled Tamarack, you inspire me to open up and THAT helps me to heal and glad it has an impact to others too. Thank you so much

Leonard John
Oct 14
Oct 14

Thanks much and wishing you the very best you deserve!

Jane
Oct 14
Oct 14

Thank you kindly Leornard

ANJ ANA
Oct 14
Oct 14

Dear Jane
Congratulations on being featured storyteller. So happy and proud to see you and read you.
What an inspirational piece of this, how you convert the positivity from your experiences of rejections and hatred. I am amzed with your positivity . How beautiful your heart is, how heroic your life is. Keep spreading the love and motivations like this.
love and regards,
anjana

Jane
Oct 14
Oct 14

Thank Anjana, I am truly humbled and motivated. Love always

Oct 14
Oct 14
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
GemStateOfMind
Oct 14
Oct 14

Jane,
What a beautifully told story! I am inspired by your words! I am proud of your accomplishments, strength, and undying love! Thank you for sharing!
With Love & Light

Jane
Oct 14
Oct 14

Thank you kindly Gem, appreciated

Rosylyne Nabaala
Oct 18
Oct 18

Thank you for sharing this is so tauching.

Jane
Oct 21
Oct 21

Thank you my sister. Again, thank you for the encouragement

narayani khadka
Oct 23
Oct 23

Dear Sister Jane, congratulations on your achievement. thank you a lot for sharing your super powerful story. I am sure that your children look up to you as a role model .
warm hugs
-Narayani

Jane
Oct 23
Oct 23

Thank you kindly my sister and thanks again for the encouragement.

SujataN
Oct 24
Oct 24

Jane,
Your life is a testament to your strength and resilience. May we all know the love you have come to know.
Sujata

Jane
Oct 29
Oct 29

Thank you so much, I feel motivated and honored to be part of World Pulse

EmpowerU
Oct 24
Oct 24

You are beautiful and you matter and are so valuable! You are the change!

Jane
Oct 29
Oct 29

Humbled, thank you kindly for helping me to smile better

Sharon Martini
Oct 25
Oct 25

Beautiful! You. Your story. Life! What doesn't break you, indeed makes you stronger!
Thank you for sharing your powerful story. It resonates deep with me.

Blessings!
Sharon

Jane
Oct 29
Oct 29

Absolutely my sister, our challenges makes the better of us

Thank you so much for sharing your story Jane. Thank you for your courage , thank you for your persistence. You have inspired me Blessed Blessed

Jane
Oct 29
Oct 29

Thank you Jap, I am truly honored

brenna
Nov 01
Nov 01

What a beautiful story of interrupting the cycle of abuse with love. You are an inspiration to all who have suffered such betrayal from those close to us.

Jane
Nov 05
Nov 05

Thank you Brenna I am truly inspired by my sisters here who are not afraid to share their experiences. Thanks a lot for motivation

Asaad Ali
Nov 13
Nov 13

Inspiring story , great job dear
Thank you for sharing your story.