Guest col­umn: Liv­ing be­yond words

Hard­ship can give you a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion for what you have and drive you to thrive against the odds, writes Ler­ato Mako­ropo

Destiny - - Contents -

My first ex­pe­ri­ence of heartache hap­pened as a lit­tle child in Duduza town­ship, where I lived with my par­ents and ex­tended fam­ily. I was the vic­tim of sex­ual abuse by a cousin for three years – and when I even­tu­ally told a fe­male cousin about it, the fam­ily was torn apart.

My mother was left to raise me and my two younger sib­lings on her own. She bat­tled ter­ri­bly, but she was de­ter­mined that I should leave the town­ship for a chance at a brighter fu­ture. I opted to study labour re­la­tions at Vaal Tech­nikon (now the Vaal Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy) with­out re­ally know­ing what it was about, but as I grew to un­der­stand it bet­ter, I fell in love with it.

Life at uni­ver­sity wasn’t plain sail­ing with the on­go­ing fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties in my fam­ily, but I per­se­vered, stud­ied hard, earned bur­saries and achieved a Na­tional Diploma in Labour Re­la­tions, fol­lowed by a BTech in labour re­la­tions. I’ve con­tin­ued study­ing and ob­tained a Cer­tifi­cate in Em­ployee Wellness from Unisa, as well as a BCom Hon­ours.

My ca­reer epit­o­mises my love for hu­man re­sources and my re­solve to make a dif­fer­ence. I worked for Em­per­ors Palace, Ed­con and Itec be­fore join­ing Tsogo Sun at Gold Reef City as HR Manager in 2012 and then Mon­te­casino as HR Manager in 2014.

I love the way my work ex­poses me to a di­verse spec­trum of peo­ple and cul­tures and al­lows me the free­dom to be in­no­va­tive. It’s a job where you can see the ev­i­dence of how you’re im­pact­ing other peo­ple’s lives in a pos­i­tive and ful­fill­ing way.

Other hard­ships fol­lowed. In 2015, I bat­tled with ill-health and af­ter a pe­riod of ex­ces­sive pain and end­less tests, I learnt that one of my kid­neys was fail­ing. No-one in my fam­ily had ever had an or­gan re­moved and it caused much stress, with rel­a­tives plead­ing with me not to do it. But I did have the kidney re­moved and I haven’t looked back health-wise.

Through the years of ad­vanc­ing my ca­reer and deal­ing with health is­sues, my per­sonal re­la­tion­ships were suf­fer­ing and it was only re­cently that I tack­led the un­der­ly­ing causes. I came to re­alise that the ini­tial abuse and re­jec­tion I’d en­dured so long ago im­pacted much of my life – I was robbed of healthy re­la­tion­ships with fam­ily mem­bers and loved ones.

I’ve been coming to terms with the re­al­i­ties of my past, recog­nis­ing the im­pact it’s had on my re­sponses to peo­ple, and I’ve been mak­ing an ef­fort to rebuild re­la­tion­ships.

I can’t let my past de­fine who I am, but I also needed to ac­knowl­edge how it had af­fected me. Trau­mas have a long-term ef­fect on many lives, es­pe­cially on young­sters who’ve been abused. My hope is that my ex­pe­ri­ences will help oth­ers – chil­dren, adults who suf­fered abuse as chil­dren, and par­ents. Don’t sweep the truth un­der the car­pet and don’t avoid get­ting help and sup­port.

My ex­pe­ri­ences have made me an over­comer and given me a strong sense of self, of em­pa­thy, of humour and of the value of de­vel­op­ing peo­ple to their full po­ten­tial.

I can’t let my past de­fine who I am, but I also needed to ac­knowl­edge how it had af­fected me.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.