A Pain That Forced Her to Succeed
While many people tend to blame their background for not thriving in life, Sister Basha welcomes the bad chapter of her life as it gave birth to who she is today – an influential leader
Most times, we tend to think a rags to riches story is all about money and wealth. But sometimes, getting rid of emotional clutter from the past and starting on a clean slate is all the riches you need. A person who knows the power of emotional wealth too well is Sister Basha Tlhapane-Taylor (41). She is a successful surgical nurse who runs her own medical practice, has scored several humanitarian awards, has a well-oiled ministry, is an accomplished author, a philanthropist, a leader in her community and has been featured in the top 50 of Mrs South Africa. Her CV might be impressive, but life wasn’t always rosy for Basha. She did, however, manage to flip the script and turn her life around. And what is most inspiring is that she didn’t only change her life but that of her community as well.
A HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Basha was born and raised in a rural village of Lefatlheng in Hammanskraal but moved to Ga-Rankuwa when she was in Grade 8, along with her parents and four siblings. Her mother is a retired educator and her father is a set right mechanic. “Even though I was coming from a family that looked like it had it all – with both parents who were literate, educated and employed – there was an issue of poverty and domestic violence,” Basha remembers, adding that, “we were sometimes destitute and found ourselves in tussels with police, and social workers had to get involved.”
Looking back at her past, Basha admits she had a complicated childhood and upbringing with memories of neglect. So bad were things at home that by the time she was 17 years old, after finishing school the previous year, she started working full time and at 18, she had moved out of home and lived by herself.
Although her life was not ideal, Basha continued to have big dreams. Despite that reality, she was determined to better her life and become successful. In 2004 and 2005, she went back to school to write her matric again and improve her marks through the Adult Basic Education and Training Programme and passed with a bachelor’s pass. She had always had ambitions of becoming a medical doctor but instead settled for being a nurse. “My parents did not think that I could do it or that I was clever enough,” Basha recalls. “They never really took cognisance of my abilities even though I grew up as an intellectual person who did exceptionally well at school. My other siblings were seen as better than me.”
Back then, Basha didn’t know she would give birth to something great.
My parents did not think that I could do it or that I was clever enough
A DREAM COMES TO LIFE
Today she owns and runs a medical practice, Sister Basha Pty (Ltd), which started in July last year. “What drove me to start a medical practice was the desire to be financially independent,” she says. But the biggest perk for her has to be – being her own boss and managing her working hours. This allows Basha to spend more time with her husband of 20 years, Herman, and sons Tshireletso (20) and Omolemo (18). Due to Covid-19 regulations, Basha has had to adapt her medical clinic to operate under the new norm. So currently, she works from home offering virtual counselling sessions and house visits to those living in Cape Town. “The services we offer are virtual counselling, health screenings, wound care, dialysis, ventilation, family planning, immunisation and referrals for private and corporate clients,” she says, adding that clients pay for services.
WOMEN AND BEYOND
Although it may seem like the clinic takes all her time, she makes time for her other passion. Basha is also the founder and director of Women and Beyond, an NPO that began in 2007 and focuses on the upliftment and empowerment of women and children in the aspects of health, law, education and social welfare. “Last year alone, we were able to process a little over 3 000 cases involving the heath, legal, educational and social welfare of women and children and gave Covid-19 relief aid to over 700 families,” she gushes.
Although she is making all this difference, it is not a walk in the park. “Over the years, we have faced many challenges including lack of funding from businesses and government. Many of our campaigns and projects are funded by the coordinators and myself out of our own pockets,” Basha says. She doesn’t forget to mention the support she gets from her husband, who runs the Christ Cornerstone Ministries. “He has always supported my dreams, ambitions, projects and initiatives and he’s hands-on in his approach.”
Even with what sounds like a hectic schedule, Basha has written two books, Disconnected and No Shame .“Disconnected journals my weightloss journey and its associated struggles and rewards. I have lost 50 kg in total,” she says. On the other hand, No Shame is a collection of women’s survival stories. It’s about women who have gone through domestic violence, sexual assault and gender-based violence. “They have triumphed against all odds with the help and support of Women and Beyond. I am told by many who have bought this book how much it has helped, equipped and encouraged them with their own struggles.”
Although Basha engages in all these varied activities, she is big on selfcare. “Last year was quite a hectic year that effected our mental, physical and spiritual health. #Selfcare2021, a hashtag I created, is about entering into this year with a mindset that propels us to take care of ourselves holistically. In this way, we are also able to take care of those we love too.”
She admits that even though the pandemic has changed some of her plans, it has also opened her eyes to the possibilities of the unknown. “Throughout the Covid-19 spiral, I have seen myself being able to help so many women and children during these troubling times,” she concludes as she walks away to touch more lives.
For more information, visit www.sisterbasha.co.za, email email@example.com, or call 078 520 0982. ■