Mother’s Day is still important to Leigh-Ann Marshall even though the 25-year-old from Tafelsig lost her mom nine years ago.
Ms Marshall, who attended a Mother’s Day celebration at the Beaconvale Frail Care Centre, in Beacon Valley, last Wednesday, said she had had to live a life of sorrow before experiencing the joy.
“I lost my mother in 2014. Coming through it was not easy. I also lost my father. I also lost my child in a miscarriage and had to endure a marriage that wasn’t as beautiful as what I thought it would be. I became addicted to drugs and I disappointed my family,” she said.
Her drug addiction led her to prison. She was released last month.
“I can now say that I am drug free. I am so thankful to God for carrying me through this. No matter the situation, don’t forget to pray, don’t forget where you come from and don’t forget there is a God above who protects you,” she said.
Marildea Sonday, the operations manager at Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse – the non-profit organisation that arranged the function for mothers in the community – said mothers of all ages – and even a few fathers – had joined in, and Aneeqah Mohedeen, who serves on the organisation’s board, said it was important to support mothers.
“They play a special part in our lives, and we should honour that.”
Shahida Abrahams, a court-support coordinator for the organisation, said most of the women at the event had experienced abuse in their homes. “It is nice to see, amidst their challenges, that they get to enjoy themselves and celebrate womanhood.”
Men for Change, a City of Cape Town project that helps men who have a history of crime turn their lives around, was also at the function, and Farouk Bailey, a Men for Change supervisor, said, “We would like to help take the strain off of mothers in at least making them feel special at this event.”
And Rushana Abrahams, from the City’s Women for Change project, said they ran weekly support sessions for women through the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse.
“Coming to the sessions at the network is helpful. We have to make a change in our community and support one another,” she said.
“The women, and especially the mothers, are empowered week after week from the programmes at the network. We are rising and setting boundaries. We found an identity as lots of us have lost our identity through our circumstances.”
Shirley Warner, a mother from Beacon Valley, said: “If we had known what we know now back then, we would continue to arise and help others, show our worth and value. Now that some of our children have grown up and started their own families, we get to grow again, value ourselves and live our lives.”
For more information about the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 376 0445.