Thato Ntelekoa – Lesotho

Thato Ntelekoa – Lesotho

Date: December 9, 2015
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“The reason behind the newly improved relations with others is the fact that I was able to accept myself and gain a lot of confidence”

The beneficiary’s most memorable experience with Gender Links (GL) was being accepted for who she was. This was her first worry when she attended the “I” story meeting where she had to sit down and write her story. She said she was worried that she would be forced to pretend to be someone else for the sake of avoiding having questions asked, but to her surprise the GL team was very nice and welcomed her warmly.

Her name is Thato Ntelekoa from Berea and she was raped and she cannot take that day out of her mind as it changed her life. She still remembers that day vividly and how that man hurt her. Ntelekoa maintains that if it was not for the GL training sessions she would not be in this position, because she hated herself so much that she was even considering committing suicide because she could not understand why that man went for her.

She was so hopeless and she did not want to do anything about her life, but because she has a child and she needed to take care of the child, she made a decision that it was time that she looked after herself and took charge of herself. The exercise of writing her “I” story was therapy for her because it helped her to forgive the person who raped her. She attended the three phases of workshops and she was able to learn many things. The training helped her to get ideas as to how she could build her own business so that she could change her life.

She saw a definite change in her life and she mentioned that she can identify this change because before she used to get so angry and had this hatred inside her that even affected her relationship with her parents and the child. However, ever since she began attending the GL training sessions she is better able to control her temper, have confidence and realise that she is a very important person who respects herself a great deal. Even further, she no longer has to pretend to be something she is not because now she is more conscious of her rights. She believes that she would not have done these things or even feel this way if it was not for GL through Me Mahali, the gender officer in Berea. She recalls her saying that it is important for her to accept herself before pleasing others, otherwise one will never take pleasure in the joy of living.

Ntelekoa stated that she no longer isolates herself as she did just because she was avoiding being questioned, criticised and discriminated against because of what happened to her. In most cases when someone is raped people blame the victim or even say that she perpetrated that abuse. Even better, she no longer gets angry with her family members because they too have become more supportive. The reason behind the newly improved relations is the fact that she was able to accept herself and gain a lot of confidence. She can now freely express her thoughts and feelings towards her family. She explained that the level of interaction with her siblings is growing.

At the community level she explained that people are now looking at her differently, in a good way. She has come to play more of a leadership role in her community rather than that of a follower. She has helped some people in her community to be more open about how they identify themselves, how they dress and the kind of sports or social activities that interest them.

One good characteristic she has developed since the training is the desire to learn new things and acquire skills. Hence she takes it upon herself to attend training on issues in which she has an interest, be it business-orientated or sports-related, she makes sure she acquires new knowledge and skills.

Ntelekoa also stated that indeed she does still get challenged by the way people treat her, but she overcomes that by telling herself that she will not change to please society or to meet society’s expectations. She is currently preparing herself to start a business in which she is already receiving training. Moreover, she is visiting sites which are already running similar businesses to the one she intends to start.


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