Mpho Gift Matima – South Africa

Mpho Gift Matima – South Africa

Date: June 8, 2012
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I found a “voice” through facilitating the Gender Awareness workshops for Gender Links as part of the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) Training Women for Effective Leadership and Governance. It is truly the best thing that’s happened to me in my life.

I call my story the evolution of Ms.Mpho Gift Matima. A paradigm shift happened. I think and see things. I evolved from being “human conscious” to “soul conscious”. In the final analysis we are all souls having a human experience. Facilitating these workshops healed the “wounded” child in me. I come across stories of immense pain, anger, and frustration from the delegates who partake in these workshops (mostly women).

My journey begins in Dube, Soweto in 1970. My mother was teenager then, the only girl amongst four boys. Her parents (my grandparents) were so overjoyed to have another girl child in the family that they named me Mpho Gift (Mpho means “gift” in Sesotho). They adopted me 48hours after my birth.

I was spoilt by everyone in the house. When I was seven I found out how cruel the world can be. My neighbour told me that girl I thought was my sister was my mother. This blew my mind. I began on a journey of self-destruction.

My mom found her voice in high school through the Black Consciousness Movements. She was a political activist. At university she met and fell in love. Her fiancé opened doors for her to go study to the USA.

I grew up knowing that my mom and her brothers would have to report to the notorious John Vorster Prison in Johannesburg. Many people were interrogated and tortured to extract “confessions” about their political activities in the prison.

Eventually I joined my mom in the USA. I excelled academically in my studies and eventually got the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship to go to university. I questioned authority and the ways of the world. I carried the “weight of the world” on my shoulders. I knew I had to get a good education and go fulfil the promises of building a “new” South Africa.

I organised a march at university after learning that one of the black female students was raped by white male students. The university wanted to keep the incident quiet. The march coincided with disinvestment protests happening in the USA at the time urging the country to get out of Apartheid South Africa.

My grades had dropped and the school board (mostly Dominican friars or monks) learnt of my involvement in the march and did not take kindly to this black girl inciting students to rebel and question authority on their campus. I was kicked out of this university.

I went on to get a job in corporate America with American Express, their investments division, which also made management uncomfortable because I was from South Africa and divestment was a hot topic.

I sought refuge in politics and joined the Communist Party (the Brown University chapter).I sought solace in partying and became promiscuous. I thought marrying would quiet the “storm within”.

I married a man whose political views were totally divergent from mine. He was a former commander in the NATO armed forces in Denmark. We constantly about politics and this made the home environment unbearable to be in. I left Denmark to start again in South Africa.

It seems all of my life I’ve been starting over and re-inventing myself. I have learnt through “healing” others that ALL these issues don’t matter in the Universe. What matters is how we treat fellow human beings, regardless of race, religion, colour and creed.Are we extending the life force as God and the Universe wants us to do, and not destroying it and the planet.

Past hurts, disappointments, and betrayals really do not matter because they are lessons to make me the best person I can be. I want teach others how to overcome pain by turning it into power and positive energy.



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