This week, guest writer Nasiphi Khafu, our City Area Coordinator, shares a personal story. Nasiphi has been involved with PeacePlayers South Africa as a participant and employee for over 6 years and has grown tremendously as a person and as a woman. In this week’s post, Nasiphi tells us about her journey as both a female athlete and a professional in the sport for development sector. We thank Nasiphi for letting us into this personal part of her life. She continues to inspire us every day with her determination and drive to empower young people through sport.
I am who I am because of my identity, my beliefs, my self-values, my personality, my hard work, my love for sport, my love for family, my positivity towards life, my smile, my enthusiasm, and most of all, my drive to develop the youth in every way I can.
I was born on the 13th of June 1988 in the Eastern Cape, Mount Ayliff at Cabazana Village where I was raised by my grandparents Ntsikelelo and Nontsikelelo. I never spent much time with my mother, Zingisa, when I was growing up because she was working away from home. My grandparents taught me the most valuable lessons of life. They taught me to love myself, trust myself, work hard, work smart, to be an opportunist, to look for new challenges, to always strive for education and success, and to never settle for second best because I am the best. I grew up in a rural area and there was not much to do but play sports. Me being as hyperactive as I am, I played every sport I could get my hands to. I played netball, volleyball, handball, soccer, cricket, softball, long jump, and discus. I wasn’t “the best” in all these sports, but I know I was very good in netball and volleyball. In 2006, I was introduced to a new challenge: basketball. I only really started playing in 2008 when I was in tertiary at Durban University of Technology.
In 2004, I permanently moved to Durban to stay with my mother. It was the first time we would be living together full-time. You can all imagine the excitement and expectations I had thinking that finally I would have everything I had always wanted. I had so much anticipation to study in the city and also live with my mom for the first time. Did everything go as I have imagined? NO. In fact, everything was the opposite. I was a spoiled teenager who was used to getting anything and everything I wanted when I wanted it from my grandparents. I thought things would be the same or better with my mom- forgetting that she was a single parent, the eldest in the family with mega responsibilities. We had our differences, and at first I did not care what she had to say because I had my grandmother, who was a phone call away. In December 2004, my grandmother passed away, and that’s when I knew I had to change my attitude and behaviour towards my mom because now she was all I had. This occurrence is what makes me believe that everything happens for a reason. If my grandmother had not passed away, I doubt I would have ever given my mother a chance. In 2006, our relationship got better. We were best friends and spent as much time as we could together. We got to know and understand each other. My mother was the one who instilled the value of womanhood in me. She taught me life’s most valuable lessons, how to carry myself as a young woman, how to celebrate and embrace who I am and celebrate little achievements. She taught me how to be a role model to my siblings Yongama and Nqobile, how to love myself, and the importance of always having a clear mindset for what I want to achieve in life. Because of her, I learned the importance of following my dreams and never letting anything stand in my way, no matter what the circumstances. What I did not know was what little time I had left with her, and that she was teaching me all of these life values for the last time. I took care of my mother until she passed away on the 4th of December 2006.
I used to say that if anything happened to her, life wouldn’t be worth living. But when they announced that she was gone, I realised that at the age of 18 I had to be the woman my mother wanted me to be. I had to be strong and be a good role model for my siblings. Since my mother died, it has not been easy. We were lucky to have the help of amazing extended family and friends that took us in and supported us.
I have also been blessed with incredible colleagues, especially from Peace Players International. The people at PPI have taught me the great value of family. Family is not only the people you are born with, but also the amazing people you meet in life who are always there for you. This year there have been two new additions to my family tree; Sports United and Laureus Youth Empowerment through Sport programme (YES). These 2 programs have been very influential in my life in terms of self and professional growth, and have given me guidance to achieve my goals.
My womanhood is defined by my experiences, and the way I was raised has had a big influence on how I turned out. I believe that if I was raised in a different environment, I would be a much different person than I am today. My mother had me when she was 19 years old, the best gift and blessing she ever had. I told her that I would wait until I am old enough to have a baby. I made that choice for me because I learned from her experiences. Growing up, I was told to always follow my dreams, to live my life to the fullest and to be the best that I can be. This is the message I pass to my friends and everyone around me because you only have one life to live, one life to see everything you’ve always wanted. You should always take all the once in a lifetime opportunities, because you never know if that opportunity will ever come your way again.
I am still growing, discovering myself, empowering and developing youth- especially young women in sport. I choose to be the writer of my own future and let God be my guidance.
I am woman!!!
My question to you is: What defines you or your womanhood???