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Acclaimed writer, creative coach and all round life-teacher Sindiwe Magona has a big story to tell.

At 23 she was a ‘has been’, at least that’s how she describes herself. She had two kids, had just been abandoned by her husband and was so poor that at times she pretended to make food in a large empty pot so that her children would believe all was well.

As a black woman during the height of Apartheid Sindiwe’s prospects for advancement were bleak. She had a qualification as a teacher, but in those days married women were last in the queue for jobs in education. Worse still she felt she had let down her parents, something she found the hardest thing of all to bear. At one point she felt so low she wanted to end it all.

Standing on a bridge overlooking the passing trains below, Sindiwe’s life took a profound turn. She made a bold decision to embrace life and leap into her true potential … whatever it took.

She became a domestic worker, sold sheep heads and did everything she could to survive. Then, hard as it was, she sent her children away to be looked after by others while she started studying, completing a degree through the University of South Africa and a graduate degree from Columbia University. She then spent 20 years working as a communications specialist for the United Nations, taking her children with her to the Big Apple. It was a far cry from battling low self esteem and living on the poverty line in a country built on institionalised racial segregation.

Most of us however know Sindiwe Magona as a hugely respected author and poet. A voice for women and the peoples of South Africa whose commentary on her own life and the realities of the country have moved thousands of readers locally and internationally. ‘Forced to Grow’; ‘Mother to Mother’; ‘To My Children’s Children’; ‘Please, Take Photographs’ & ‘Beauty’s Gift’ are just some of her works.

Today Sindiwe looks back over her life awed by how far she has come and humbled by the results of sheer determination and the huge decision she took at the lowest point of her life. A decision that changed everything, forever.

Listen to Sindiwe on radio.

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