Single motherhood is one of the most overwhelmingly challenging experiences a woman can have in her life. Even more so in African societies, where the lack of adequate support systems and policies for single mothers further exacerbates the situation. In addition to trying to rebuild a future for themselves and their child/children, single mothers constantly have to grapple with self-doubt, family pressure, financial stress and the fear of having to face the challenges of life alone.
Being a single mother literally means that there is nobody to pass the baton onto – your life and the life of child (or children) depends on you and you alone.
Under such tremendous pressure, a lot of women have understandably thrown in the towel by “settling” for abusive relationships in order to acquire a pseudo sense of security and support, through the difficult journey of parenthood.
Others (who have that alternative) have completely abdicated their responsibility by passing it on to their own parents or relatives, in order to give themselves another shot at life.
Thembi Thabate falls in neither of these categories. A South African young black single mom, Thembi knows far too well the challenges that come with single motherhood in a country where women continue to be marginalized professionally and culturally, in spite of the government’s efforts towards their empowerment. Yet, she deals with the challenges head-on and refuses to succumb. Her secret? Belief.
Belief in her divine right to a better life and belief in her ability to achieve whatever she aspires to and become whoever she wants to be.
“I have the divine right to be whatever i want to be and to be whoever i believe that I can be”.
This philosophy drives her through adversity and trying moments. The firm belief that we’re are 100% responsible for the good and bad in our lives, the conviction that her future is hers to write and the mental disposition to accept the consequences of her decisions, good or bad, have helped Thembi redefine herself and helped her slowly carve her way through the corporate world, whilst imparting that wisdom into her son.
We asked Thembi to briefly share her experience with us and with other South African single moms, here’s what she had to say:
Newmoi.org: Tell us what keeps you going despite the challenges?
Thembi: God keeps me going… I won’t lie it hasn’t been easy. However, my faith has been the one thing I could hold on to, keeps me going and helps me realize that nothing in my life happens by my power or might. I have accepted my destiny as a mother and I love my son so much, even if someone had to choose any other life, I would choose the one I have with him.
Newmoi.org: What would you say is your greatest achievement as a single black mom in South Africa?
Thembi: Being able to provide everything to the best of my abilities for my son. A home, proper quality education, medical care etc. Really, I think my greatest success at being a single black mom is managing to hold the fort and to never feel sorry or ashamed of myself. I Soldier on and keep believing in God’s Devine purpose for our lives.
Newmoi.org: What is your advice to other young women who might be going through what you’ve been through?
Thembi: Being a parent is a blessing from God, embrace it. Whether you are doing it on your own or have someone to run this race with you. The best love you will ever experience in life is that of your child. They will always love you unconditionally. One day you will look back at the road travelled and realize “You were never on your own”! A much bigger force is always there in the background fighting the fight for you. I don’t promise that it’s easy, but every step, every smile, every laughter, every dance; nights shared together with your child can never be traded for anything in this world!
Seemingly ‘ordinary’ lives often hide incredible tales of personal success in the face of challenges; stories that rarely catch the attention of the media and society, and yet deserve to be told. Thank you for sharing your story with us Thembi; you truly are unstoppable!
Click HERE to watch Thembi’s interview after attending a personal development seminar