Today, Ndyawe speaks to us about a friendship that changed her life, and how she has thrived despite loss and obstacles. Thank you, Ndyawe, for your vulnerability and for sharing your extraordinary and courageous story.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: My childhood, to be honest, was quite messy. I lost my parents at a very young age, a year apart. My mother was the first one to pass; she was involved in a car accident. Then a year later, my father passed away from a heart attack. I was told that the reason why my father got a heart attack was because he was so stressed on how is he going to raise a baby girl and make sure I am healthy, happy and all.
Then, I moved in with my aunt (my late father’s sister) who has also passed away. But before she passed away, she gave me to her daughter to raise because she was old. With that in all, I never really knew my biological mother because she passed away when I was at a very young age and with all the moving, I lost contact with her side of the family– but what keeps me “close” to her, if I may say, [are the] pictures I have of her. People say I have her personality and the fierce drive I apparently have– I got it from her.
Being close with my father’s side of the family and some memories I have of my father, I also got to find out that I am actually the photocopy of my father. Changing scenes was kind of a battle for me, moving away from people that I was used to when my parents were alive, to a different side of the world that I never knew.
When I was five or six years old, I moved to a small beautiful town called Middleburg, in the Eastern Cape. I moved into a wonderful family that made me the woman that I am today. My wonderful parents Vuyisile and Nosandiso Zizi raised me and made me their own, [for] which I am very appreciative today because not everyone gets blessed to be taken in by a wonderful family.
My childhood from then, I was a very active athlete and a netball player. In grade ten, which was in 2014, I got so blessed and got an opportunity to play for the Eastern Cape team. I was very energetic child if I may say… I still ask myself today: how did my parents manage to raise me ’cause I was really a handful. I was just this little child who was rebellious *laughs* not in a way where I needed intervention– I used to literally do the opposite of the rules that my mother set for me. I was really a naughty child.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31 25-26
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: My spiritual growth at the moment is just to get closer to God. To be able to listen to Him, surrender and let Him take over my life and help me do what I was put on this earth to do and serve my purpose in life.
Profession: I am a student in Nelson Mandela University studying BA (Psychology and Anthropology).
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Note to self.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? My first encounter with God was when I was in grade 10. In grade ten, I fell into deep depression because I never got a chance to grieve my parent’s death, I got emotionally tormented. I was pushed in this dark corner, isolated, was told I was never good enough.
During my first therapy sessions (which I never told anyone about it because no one believed me when I was voicing out what was currently happening in my life then), I met a very spiritually powerful girl whom I lived with in the boarding school that I was in, in high school. I would tell her about what was going on, and she would listen and the only thing that she would tell me was to pray.
Sometimes, I would get so frustrated with her because at that moment I would feel like God was not listening and not doing anything about the events that was happening in my life, but all she kept on saying was that I must pray and with my sleepless nights crying, I would sleep in her room, and we would pray together. She taught me how to read a Bible, how to pray, and keep faith in God even in moments where I feel He’s not listening. She was the one who made me realise that God promised that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
“She was the one who made me realise that God promised that He will never leave me nor forsake me.”
How has your relationship with Him changed you? My relationship with Him made me more confident in myself. It taught me how not to dwell on negativity. It taught me that, through Him, everything is possible. It taught me how to be my very own best friend/cheerleader. After so many years questioning Him– why did He take my parents away– He made me realise that everything happens for a reason and the reason why He took my parents from me is so that they can protect me in ways that they wouldn’t be able to protect me if they were still on earth.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? A church that I started going to this year called Father’s House in North End in Port Elizabeth. Pastor George’s services helped me become as spiritually strong as I am today.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): There are two books that I just finished. One by Dj Zinthle and Nokubonga Mbanga called Meeting Your Power. It has taught me how to channel myself into being the best me I can be.
The second book is written by Joel Osteen called It’s Your Time. It has taught me how to find my purpose and to achieve my dreams through my Lord and Saviour.
Top three essentials:
How did God speak to you recently? God spoke to me through the series that also played a role on “activating” my faith on Jesus to a higher level, if I may say. The series, it’s called Crazy Faith by an online church called The Transformation Church by Pastor Michael Todd.
Hobby: Reading motivational/inspirational books– not really into to fiction.
Learning how to make gourmets because I recently started a clothing line.
Praise and worshiping in my room.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
- Surround yourself with people who has your best interest in heart. People that when times are tough and one feels like their prayers are not strong enough, be able to pray with your and for you.
- Include God into your everyday decisions.
- Make it a habit on praying, reading scripture or watching services everyday to help you grow spiritually and help feed you your soul and spirit with the Word and the presence of God.
Favorite person in scripture? David.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? When people look at me I want them to know that when you accept the Lord and Saviour, you glow differently. You look and feel lighter. You are in peace inside even though life throws its chaos and tries to taunt your soul. When they look at me, I want them to say, “Wow look at God. Look at what He’s doing to His Child.”
How do you engage with your community? I am a co-founder of a NPO called Crowned. Our aim is help the youth of the Eastern Cape starting with small numbers. We help them see the importance of education and raising above their circumstances. So far, since we are a newly established NPO, we did a stationary drive with one of the schools in Walmer in Port Elizabeth. We also donated food in one of the children’s home in Johannesburg.
“Our aim is help the youth of the Eastern Cape starting with small numbers. We help them see the importance of education and raising above their circumstances.”
Favorite holiday? I do not have a favourite holiday.
A goal you have? My goal is to make an impact to all the youth in small towns, showing and helping them into seeing their bright future. My other goal is open up an orphanage in my hometown. An orphanage that will not only take in neglected children but to educate them, rehabilitate them, help them make something out of themselves.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Every Christmas, we make it a point that we have a huge family Christmas lunch.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why did you let them separate me from my siblings?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Depression and how hard it is to get out of it.
What does your morning routine consist of? First thing I do is to thank God for blessing me for yet another day. Ten minute worship and praise, read a Scripture of a daily devotion, and pray then start my day.
What is on your nightstand? My journal, Bible and a daily devotion from Oswald Chambers called My Utmost For His Highest.
Define Christianity in a sentence: It is a road for discipline, focus and wisdom teachings.
For more Ndyawe:
Facebook: Mbali Annette Ndyawe
Until next time, keep witnessing!