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Due to our line of work, we at the GRCF often hear stories that both break our hearts and inspire us at the same time.   It is amazing the sorts of things that people can live through and endure and yet find ways to persevere and thrive – thus providing the rest of us with a moving example of the best aspects of human love, courage, determination and strength.

Sanah smiling, as usual!

One such example can be found in Sanah Nhlapo, a resident of rural Mathopestat. Sanah is a young, ambitious, hardworking and bright young woman who has survived and thrived despite tremendous obstacles.  Born and raised in Mathopestat, our pilot ABCD town, Sanah moved to Johannesburg in 2000 following a rape that had left her both pregnant and HIV positive.  The move was necessary as she knew that she would have to find work to support herself as she did not wish to have an abortion, despite the circumstances.  In order to keep the child and be able to take care of it, she had to find work in Johannesburg as an office administrator and sales representative.  By 2007 however, Sanah found herself struggling to keep her now two children and herself afloat in the big city.  She was coming home very late due to her job and did not have others around who could help take care of her children.  She therefore reluctantly decided that she needed to move back to Mathopestat for her children’s’ sake.  Sanah now lives in a shack in her mother’s yard with her daughter, 9, and her son, 5.  Despite having few options for a job in Mathopestat, Sanah was desperate to find something constructive to do.  There were seemingly no opportunities however – until last year, when the GRCF ran its first ABCD workshop.  Sanah says the workshop came like a blessing to her.

As a result of the ABCD training Sanah became aware of the abundance of assets in Mathopestat and in herself that she previously, along with the other community members, had not noticed.  The workshop changed her thinking and brought out her inner leadership, and soon Sanah was one of the strongest voices driving change in Mathopestat.  She is now helping lead the community forum that came about as a result of the ABCD workshop, and is involved in several small business projects.  Sanah has also realized that she would make an excellent HIV counsellor as a result of the appreciative inquiry exercise, and is so eager to learn that all she needs is a little training and she will be able to achieve great things.  To the GRCF staff that have heard her story and seen her in action first hand, always with a ready smile, Sanah is truly an inspiration.

Over the past few weeks we at the GRCF have heard many such stories of inspiration, strength and perseverance.  From a sex worker who had been drugged and raped turning into an activist and a crime fighter, to a lady who lost both of her daughters to kidnappings and murder and has now joined the Citizens Forum to make sure such a tragic thing does not happen to other mothers – it is stories and people like these that keep us all dedicated to doing what we do.  One person at a time, one community at a time, we can all help change the face of Greater Rustenburg, and eventually all of South Africa, in to somewhere we all love to call home.