We learn through every experience

“I’ve grown my self-esteem and I also understand how to challenge the weakness within me”

“My name is Nokubongwa Hlongwane I was born and raised in KwaZulu Natal (KZN). I moved to Gauteng in 2005 to start high school, where I met the naughtiest friends and I was struggling with peer pressure because I wanted to fit in as I was the only one who speaks isiZulu. There was a lot of criticism but that made me realize that I am important to myself, I do not need to please anyone. Through my experiences and contact with the 1in9 Campaign I’ve learned to be sympathetic to others pain and experiences.”

Nokubongwa says that through her interactions with the 1in9 Campaign she has learned that all our voices matter because our experiences are connected, and that another’s pain and experiences also affect all of us. In the years that she has been part of this group, she has regained her self-esteem because her experiences when arriving in Johannesburg caused her to struggle with low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem is a problem that many young women struggle with throughout their teens; the bullying, feeling like an outsider, problems that come with trying to fit in and the violence they experience and see around them, shapes who they become as young adults.

“Scaps is responsible for the change in my life with her motivation, and always holding us accountable in sessions.” She goes on to explain all the things she has gained from being part of this project. “I have gained a lot from 1 in 9; creativity skills from the Art for liberation trainings and developing our own media, self-defence tactics to protect myself in dangerous situations, strengthened my knowledge on gender-based violence, and values and behaviours that are beneficial for my growth as an individual.”

“One in Nine Campaign also helped us to bring change in the community, helping the elderly women that we work with to be able to start their own food gardens so that they can sustain themselves when times are tough.”

She adds that the political education sessions also help them a lot “because we learn about power, our rights as women, how to support other women who have experienced violence, working together and strengthening our voices to end gender-based violence, and more about feminism as a whole”.

“My next step is to continue working with the elderly women, however I also would love to start a business of my own, in the beauty industry”.