This is a story about my struggle to cope with bullying at home and at school and how I couldn’t handle kindness and caring, it felt strange to me.
This is also a shout out to my crazy cousin and retired nurse, Mrs Khishiwe Ambrosia MaMzobe Duma.
This is my beloved cousin uMrs Mbro Duma. 12 years younger than my mother. My mom is her dad’s youngest sister & her mom is my dad’s oldest sister. And Yes, lobola was paid both ways!
She visited me in hospital when I was 12. See, that year was super hard for me. I was a 7th grader with no shoes. My friend, Sphindile often went to school barefooted in support of my situation.
I got cut on the foot by a rusty wire and the sore got infected, I think sepsis is the correct medical term. Nobody really took notice of it until I had a fever. My mom thought it was tetanus and she sprang into action in panic mode because she once lost a colleague through it, locked jaws and all. The hospital sent her to inform her family, which traumatized her further.
Mommy worked night shift, which meant she worked 1 week & was off the next week. She had to go back home and leave me admitted in hospital. Luckily my cousin Mbro worked there as well. So she visited me in the ward & I cried uncontrollably. I was used to harshness, not concern & care. Her kind gesture broke me down and left her puzzled. I was still semi-mute at that time. I only gave short answers to questions, nothing else. I was so embarrassed by the crying that I turned my back to her for the rest of the visit. Being seen was something new to me. Save for my grandmother MaNyova, who I had just discovered wasn’t my dad’s biological mother that same year, I had never felt like I mattered to anybody else.
It was at that age that I started thinking about suicide & concocted many stupid schemes, which clearly failed because I’m still here.
It’s hard enough dealing with kids who are bullies, teachers grabbing you by the collar of your uniform and threatening to smack you across the face if the tears welling up in your eyes do not vanish.
Lufuno’s death brought back these memories from decades ago. I even remembered for the first time a girl called Gco Nene, who extorted money from me for weeks in the 8th grade at Gobume High School.
When you’re bullied from the time you get up to the time you fall asleep and nobody seems to understand your pain or even recognize that what you are going through is painful, you start to feel like perhaps your existence is not necessary, in fact perhaps without you some people will find happiness and whatever it is that they feel deprived of, because you exist. I have now realized that as a ‘them problem’ and not my problem. It is possible for people to project their inadequacies on you and make you feel like you are the reason they are not doing well in school or at work. Instead of leveling up, some people wish others could level down and not ‘show out’ at their expense.
I have let that stuff go & dealt with it but I feel like it’s not enough for me to have gotten over it, there are lives to be saved out there. I might not personally have the skills set to do it but surely I could play a small role. Even if that role is to let others know that things will eventually get better, by sharing my story and exposing my closely guarded lived experiences.
#mentalhealing #mentalhealth #stopbullyingnow #JusticeForLufuno