Fending for myself at 7 years of age
Moving in with her grandmother who took care of 11 other children pushed Akhona into learning to fend for herself from the age of seven.
Her mother worked and lived in Johannesburg.
"My grandmother was too old to do the house chores. I had to wash my own clothes, iron and learn how to cook from an early age. That became too much for me because I was still a child and I needed my mother's love," said Akhona.
When she was doing grade eight Akhona believed that her mother did not love her
because she abandoned her with her grandmother. She became angry with her mother and developed suicidal thoughts.
"I resented my mother and did not want anything to do with her. I did not tell her how I felt about her when she visited home. I had a personal diary where I wrote negative things about myself and how my mother hated me. I isolated myself from my cousins. I developed suicidal thoughts because I thought there was peace after death. I always entertained ideas of how I was going to hang myself, but I did not have the courage," she said.
Akhona moved in with her mother when she was doing grade 11, but still battled with anger and bitterness towards her.
"Living with her did not give me peace. I still wanted to end my life and live peacefully without her in my life. I was invited to the Universal Church in the same year I moved in with my mother. I joined the youth group of the church where I understood that killing myself was not the solution to my problems, but I would go to hell because I was not saved. I started attending the services every Friday and asked God to deliver me from suicidal thoughts," she said.
Akhona then attended Wednesday services for her spiritual development.
"I received the presence of God in my life and that gave me the comfort I needed and the assurance of my salvation. I now value my life because I understand my life is precious. God filled the emptiness in me and gave me a reason to live. I now have a good relationship with my mother and I forgave her for taking me to my grandmother's place," said Akhona.