Nov

11

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This is our first place winner Mofokeng Popi and here is what she shared:

When I was much younger, I lived with my grandmother in a small village. Often she would have to fight to get me to school because I hated it so much that I would pretend to be sick so she’d let me to stay home. When my mother visited us I acted out because she forced me to go to school.

My absenteeism was so bad that I had not learn to do the basics of grade r. During the year that I somehow completed grade r, my mom bought a house in Phuthaditjhaba. The following year she decided that I should move in with her so I could get a better education. However, I had to perform a test to determine if I was able to start grade 1. For the test, I needed to write the first five letters of the alphabet and count from 1 to 20. I failed miserably so I had to repeat grade r.

When I passed and moved onto the next grade I made new friends, all of whom surpassed me academically. I was seen as one of the dumbest children in class because I was struggling to write and read my name and surname. Whenever I was asked to answer a question in class the other kids would laugh at me and tease me because I always got it wrong. Their constant harassment changed me. I became a troublemaker and a bully because I was full of rage. I wanted to make their lives a living hell, so I ate their lunch and took their pocket money not because I needed money but because I wanted them to feel the pain I felt when they were laughing at me.

Grade 2 and 3 were very similar in that I always made friends with the bullies and was often in fights, we broke all the school rules. I passed grade 3 and was sent to another school because I still wasn’t doing well academically. I started playing soccer and joined a netball practice; I thought these activities would restore joy in my life and give me a reason to live because every day that I went to school I wished I’d die, knowing that I was always going to be a laughing stock.

In grade 5 my behaviour remained relatively unchanged. I was still enraged because of my incompetency. My teachers used to say that I would never make it in life because they had lost all hope in me. This pushed me deeper into the dark hole that I was myself in and I felt worse about myself. My self-esteem and confidence had been eroded, but my parents didn’t lose hope; they kept pushing and taking me to different schools and even paid tutors to teach me how to read and write. It seemed as if they were wasting their time and money, but God was in control. In grade 6 I started seeing things in a different light. My hope was renewed when I started to believe that God would change my situation.

When the time came to write my final exams I was anxious because it was becoming harder and harder to move on to the next grade. When I got my report I was so scared of failing but I got the shock of my life when I found out that I passed with high marks. I was even awarded a certificate for remarkable academic improvement. I was so happy because it was the first certificate that I had ever received in my life and I also knew deep down that God was busy sharpening my life for His own glory.

But in grade 8 I found myself wondering if I could do as well as I did before. Doubting myself; I cried uncontrollably in my room, wishing that I could die instead of having to go back to school where I would, without a doubt, be the school’s laughing stock. On the day that we were set to write an English paper, I was beyond nervous. Everyone seemed to enjoy the test but I was clueless. My nerves held me back as if I were instantly paralysed. It was then that I had an encounter with God that I still can’t quite put into words.

I’m now in grade 9, I’ve come to realise that it’s my time to shine and show all my full potential. It might sound impossible but I’ve come to realise that when you want something bad enough, putting your mind to it and doing your level best is the way to go. That and a little help from God.

Remember that God is not a son of man who can lie, nor will He change His mind. Like He said in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

I believe and I declare my life will never be the same again. Walk in the light.

Join us as we congratulate and thank Popi for sharing her story with us!

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