We are blessed to work closely with so many Xhosa and Zulu individuals, who defy the difficult situations surrounding them, and work for change in their communities. It is our sincere desire these people will take over the leadership and management of Genesis in the future. One of these amazing people is Noshile Angel, 23. She came to work at Genesis a year ago as a workforce empowerment facilitator. Recently she sat down with me, told me her story, and gave me permission to share it with you.
From her earliest memory, life has treated Angel unfairly. Her parents were poisoned at a wedding and died when she was little. Consequently she and her brother were passed around from distant family member to distant family member. The responsibility of caring for her little brother, rested solely on her shoulders, literally. Angel had to carry her brother around, tied to her back.
“I was all alone. I had to dig for myself in life,” Angel admitted.
Born with natural beauty, brains, and a survivor's spirit, Angel beat the odds and earned her matric. She had to leave her home before 4 a.m. to get to her high school. The environment at home was never conducive to a healthy lifestyle, let alone homework. She had the grades and the aspiration to attend university but her grandfather told her she could not do it. “They always were telling me how stupid I was, even when I came home with good grades and a beauty crown on my head, they told me how stupid I was,” Angel recalled. “It was not until the day I came home with bad grades because my home situation was so bad, that my grandfather was happy and danced. He said, ‘see I told you that you are stupid.’”
A victim of confused and blended family structures, Angel was often treated very poorly by relatives, who had no blood ties to her. The high death rate in South Africa has perpetuated this sad familial dynamic. True to her spirit, Angel picked herself up and enrolled in the University of South Africa, only to fall sick with appendicitis. When she was hospitalized because of infection in her abdomen no family members would come to her aid because they believed the lie she was having an abortion.
“Even though I was a virgin still and had no idea, my family would not help me. Later I showed them my scars and they were sorry,” Angel said.
Carrying the emotional scars of being torn down her entire life, Angel soon did fall pregnant. In April of 2013 she gave birth to a little boy named Siyasanda, Nathan. In April of 2015, she buried her son.
“I was preparing for his birthday, but instead I had to prepare for his funeral,” Angel remembered. “It was really, really hard. Because of my hardships it made a bond between me and my son. I had no help and I had to find a way to feed him.”
Angel was devastated because just as she was able to provide for herself and her son, by working as a facilitator for Siya Sebenza at Genesis, he died. As a result of her loss, she was hospitalized for depression and high blood pressure. It was during this time Angel discovered she was pregnant again. In October 2015, Angel gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named, Angel Esona.
“The moment I held her in my hands something changed in me. I got my life back. Not that she is a replacement,” Angel said. “I love her.”
Today, Angel has her smile back. She can look back over her life and see how God had His hands on her in the midst of all her hard times. “Whatever the struggle has been. God has been building something for me. He has been grooming me,” she said.
Angel is now in a healthy environment at Genesis. Life as single mother is still not easy in South Africa, but she has spiritual support from the Genesis Youth team and continues to grow in her relationship with Christ daily.
We look forward to seeing her smile every morning and her love for her daughter is palpable when she proudly shows us pictures. Her hugs are genuine and her confidence is growing.
Angel emailed me the photos to use with this story and she typed, “Me and my Angel,” in the subject line. I do not know about you, but I believe in ANGELS.