They took my children away!
Having her two children removed from her by their teacher wasn't enough of a warning for Sibongile who battled with alcohol addiction for over 20 years.
It took a near- death encounter for her to stop drinking alcohol, a habit which she started when she was 12 years old.
"I continued drinking even after I became an adult, had my own children and started working. I was a domestic worker, but my addiction to alcohol proved to be a problem in all my jobs. I drank so heavily that I was fired from three jobs in one month because I always went to work half drunk or hungover. My employers would come back home and find the place the same way they left it in the morning," she said.
Sibongile's addiction started affecting her two children's performance at school.
"Their teacher requested that they live with her so she could help them with their studies. That did not bother me, instead I was glad that I could drink alcohol freely without thinking about the children I left in the house," she said.
After she lost her third job, Sibongile started selling alcohol in her house.
"I didn't even sell the two cases of beer I normally bought because I also drank from the stock with my friends. My excessive alcohol intake also affected my health. One morning I woke up feeling ill and none of my friends came to see me. My health deteriorated every day and many doctors told me that there was too much alcohol in my body. For six months, I could not walk, eat or sleep at night.
My small shack was dirty because I could not even sweep the floor. I would crawl to open the door so that people could gain access in case I died alone in there," she said.
One Sunday in 1997, Sibongile was visited by three pastors from Universal Church after they heard about her situation.
"The pastor advised me to believe in the healing power of God. They offered me holy water and a prayer. That day I was able to stand up for the first time in six months. The following day, I woke up and cleaned my shack. I started attending the Addiction Cleansing Therapy and within two months I was free from my alcohol addiction.
Things started to change as I found a job and I was able to provide for my children. I later found an RDP house and moved out of the shack. My children came back to live with me. They completed school and are now married.I saved money and extended my house to seven rooms, I'm a sober and responsible mother who lives a peaceful and fulfilled life, " said Sibongile.