After my ex-husband left at the beginning of Aug 2009, he also left me with all the bills to pay, a son of 6yrs old and my daughter who had just turned one. I tried to juggle my life as a working woman and a single mother who had just come out of a 17 relationship with an abusive man. Things went crazy in my life and I could hardly keep up with all the bills to pay, two children to feed, our 2 dogs and a domestic worker who helped with my baby, only added to my cost that at times my dad had to come to my rescue when money was short.
The following year my house was put up for auction and the bank wanted my vehicle back after my ex-husband failed to make regular payments to our Debt Councillor for a measly amount of R3800 each month. Our debt contract got terminated and the banks came for everything. I had no idea my ex wasn’t paying the debt councillor since our agreement was he would pay that amount each month provided I don’t ask him for any help or money for our children. My mistake was I trusted he would do right by his children but I suppose some of us learn the hard way.
I sold most of my furniture to have money to make arrangements with the bank to give my house back if I paid them a substantial amount. They agreed provided I do not default with any future payments. They warned should that happen, they would repossess my house. I rented my house out on 1st Oct 2010 and moved next door to a friend of mine. It was hard on me and my children watching other people live in our house or kids playing in our yard but I took comfort knowing my bond was being paid and the house was still mine but I still had the stress of my car being repossessed as the bank wanted a large amount I could not afford.
Somehow I still could not manage financially and my friend wasn’t working either which only added to my stress. It was hardly a year later that my tenant gave notice to vacate my premises and I was unable to find another tenant in time which resulted in me defaulting with the bank. I watched as my house and car got taken from me two months apart at the end of 2011 and on the 23rd Dec 2011 myself and my friend got into an argument and she asked me to leave. This was a very painful time in my life. My ex-husband didn’t care to pay regular maintenance either. He showed no remorse for leaving me with two small children to raise on my own while he stayed with his parents and didn’t have to work. Taking him to court for maintenance didn’t help much because he still failed to make regular payments but found the time to make another baby straight after we broke up. But through God’s grace, I was able to find a tiny one bedroom cottage in January 2012 although I battled extremely without my car.
About 2 years ago, my ex-husbands oldest sister in LA who is also my children’s Godmother, offered us to relocate and live with her. She has her own business so finding work would not have been a problem and she’s doing very well as a Businesswoman and Entrepreneur. That’s when I decided to resign from my job after being a Buyer for nearly 12 years to embark on a venture as an artist and move with my son and daughter to my sister-in-law to pursue my passion. Unfortunately we battled to get my work permit and this is how I ended up pursuing my passion as an artist in my own country South Africa.
During all of this I started writing poetry again just to keep sane and my mind occupied. I wrote about how I felt at that moment and how my faith has pulled me through my most difficult times. The sad truth is, I watched how my friends became few and even some close family members such as my 2 sisters drifted away from me. I experienced a lack of love and emotional support from my family, something that would normally pull anyone through their most difficult times. I found myself alone with only The Lord, my kids and the few loyal friends I had who stood by me. They became like family, who made me realize that family isn’t always blood. What made matters worse, we had 2 suicides in my family exactly one year apart from each other. My beautiful God-fearing cousin and mother of two committed suicide on the 20th Nov 2011 and on the 20th Nov 2012 my one sister’s 3 kids dad also committed suicide. It was one hurdle and obstacle after each other. Not only that, I also lost my great aunt who was like a grandmother to me, who passed away 27th Apr 2012, the same month I was finishing off at work and we lost my step-mom to cancer the following month on Mother’s Day, May 2012. Everything became extremely hectic in my life and unbearable at times that I felt I could just as easily have given up, but I held onto my faith and remained in constant prayer. I tried getting back into Procurement although my heart wasn’t in it and even though I got called back for my 2nd interview on more than one occasion, I somehow did not get the jobs.
Had it not been for me to hit rock bottom, I probably would not have pursued my dreams as an artist and poet. Since I didn’t have a job, I had to move back home and change my children’s school. Being back home, which was the hardest thing for me to do after being away for more than twenty-one years, but it also made me more ambitious to embark on a life-long dream of mine to start a foundation to empower women and children and this was how Tilulu Arts & Culture was birthed. I work with two of my very close friends Michelle and Kholi and my cousin Mariam who is one of our artist. We try to spend time working with and encouraging women and children in our communities. My friend Kholi a devoted Christian does our social support groups in her spare time preaching and spreading The Word of our Lord while I spend my time working with and teaching children how to draw the same way I taught my son who started displaying brilliant artistic skills since the age of four. His been nominated since Grade 1, as one of his schools 10 best artist. I’ve been working with kids giving them free art lessons for nearly 2 years now and working part-time for a friend of mine just to make ends meet. Michelle an ex-professional ballroom-dancer will be teaching our dance class if we are able to secure funds to grow and build our school on land that my pastor owns. His been a great source of strength, encouragement, support and guidance to me in the last 2 years and offered to let me build a school and community centre on land that he owns.
I found that children have a keen interest to learn if they are kept stimulated and they are very diligent to do their best. Doing art with them teaches children how to work in a group and to be confident and committed in the work they do. Their little faces light up at the end result of their work. I often make use of different shapes and teach them how to convert it into a pretty drawing of some sort. This is a fun way to teach little ones about different shapes and at the same time they are learning how to draw and to express themselves.I believe with all the chaos in this world and the stress we go through, children are affected as well and as parents we don’t always pay attention to what they too may be going through. When a child feels this way, it’s good to keep the child distracted by means of extra mural activities such as music, song, dance or art. As a child and teenager, this is what I did to forget about what I was going through coming from a broken home and the peer pressure I was going through at the time. I kept myself busy through art, writing and dancing and I see this same pattern in my kids. They too keep busy by drawing. Art and writing poetry has always been away for me to express myself whether I’m feeling happy, sad or troubled. Emotions and feelings runs from one’s mind onto paper and amazing and wonderful things are inspired within us to create outstanding work as artists or writers. It’s a great way to escape to a place of solace where you find comfort in expressing yourself freely on paper or canvas. It lifts ones spirit tremendously when you are feeling sad or blue and by me working with children, I am also healing.“PAIN WAS THE LOVING & LEGITIMATE VIOLENCE NECESSARY TO PRODUCE MY LIBERTY”, I just love this quote