Hi!! Family. Let me introduce you to Tikva.
Bontlebame: Hi! Tikva, what a beautiful and unusual name. Thanks for agreeing to share your story. I must say, initially we aimed to interview women under 30 but after hearing about you from Charmain Carrol of Chubby Vogue Diva – I knew that your story had to be shared, whatever age you are…You are so beautiful!!
Tikva: Thank you for having me, very happy to be part of this campaign and thank you for the opportunity; I am 32.
Bontlebame: warning: my questions are going to be all over the place:-) just to cover as much as possible – so don’t be surprised…Where were you born?
Tikva: I was born in Giyani, Limpopo but also lived in Tzaneen and Pretoria with my two sisters and both parents.
Bontlebame: Growing up, what was your dream for your future?
I wanted to be a famous musician – my role model was Brenda Fassie. I also thought of becoming an IT Specialist.
Bontlebame: What do you think you missed the most in your childhood days?
Tikva: My innocence and freedom to express myself without fear of a man.
Bontlebame: What do you mean by innocence?
Tikva: I was raped by a family friend at age 5 and I lost the real me from that moment. Having lost my innocence I became very self-conscious which brought about fear of men. I felt unworthy of anything good and silently withdrew from the world and into my shell.
Bontebame: that is very sad and painful to hear…what saddens me is that many parents and care givers are still ignorant of the fact that children are raped and abused by people close to the children and family…worse is when they know and blame or not believe the child, or ignore the child…
…let’s leave that for a bit…what did you enjoy the most in your childhood days?
Tikva: Entertaining people and being the centre of attention at family functions and at school.
Bontlebame: Where do you live right now?
Tikva: in Little falls in Johannesburg; with my parents.
Bontlebame: What work do you do or how do you spend your days:
Tikva: I founded an NPO (Tikvahope Foundation) which focusses on instilling hope to those that have lost hope, in particular youth struggling with drug addiction as well as ex-offenders struggling to get employment because of their criminal records. The foundation is still in its infancy but we are making progress.
Bontlebame: Why ex-offenders?
Tikva: I know how it feels to be rejected and written-off by society without any hope for the future. I had a name change 6yrs ago; from Nkateko (Blessing in Tsonga) to Tikva (Hope in Hebrew). I am living up to my name – giving hope to the hopeless. Nothing wrong with the old name just change of name –change of destiny. Plus the other names I had were inherited from great-grandmother and people used to say I was just like her so felt I needed to have my own identity in Christ.
After doing prison ministry at Sun City (Johannesburg Prison) and Leeuwkop prison I realized that it could’ve been me in prison but God knew what I could handle. What lands those people in prison is more spiritual than anything. Some of them were found at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people and I want to be a reflection of God’s love for them. FACT that they are still alive is evidence that there’s hope for them. I refuse to go with the crowd and reject them. I want to be in the minority and make a difference while winning their souls over to Christ.
Bontlebame: … so selfless of you. The world needs more of you. I have an idea of what you are talking about, through work and at a personal level. Our organisation (Bontlebame) has always focused on assisting, inspiring and uplifting those that are marginalised by the general community, I know it is not easy so I take my hat off to you. May you be blessed more for the gift you are to the world.
Would you say your family was well off or were the days you worried about food, your home, school fees etc.?
Tikva: My mother was a nurse and my father a teacher. What they got was just enough for the family. They sacrificed and put me in the best schools and there were times I’d be embarrassed while in class, being called out because my fees were outstanding. I always wanted to match up with my peers from well off families and a lot of times I lied to match up and this put my parents under a lot of strain because I wanted that levis or soviet jeans to be like my friends.
Bontlebame: Growing up, what was your biggest worry or fear?
Tikva: I was ashamed and worried about being laughed at by my friends because my parents couldn’t afford certain things. I also had fear of being discovered that I wasn’t who I pretended to be…I also feared rejection by my peers.
Bontlebame: To date: what has been the most difficult experience that you’ve had to personally overcome?
Tikva: Drug addiction. I took cocaine, ecstasy, Thai-white, weed, nicotine. It was also a great challenge to accept that a friend, very close friend was Satanist assigned to kill me. These two were part of the reason for me being mentally disoriented for 2 yrs.
Bontlebame: This sounds like a lot to happen to one person at such a young age. Can we unpack it a bit?
Tikva: LOL – I KNOW!!! SERVED A GREAT PURPOSE THOUGH.
Bontlebame: Yeah, I know. It is after experiencing what we think is our worst that we rise and shine with strength and courage incomparable to before our transformation.
How did you get introduced to drugs and at what age and for how long did you take:
Tikva: Got introduced to drugs at age 17 and used for 2yrs. I had a celebrity boyfriend and wanted to fit in and be accepted by him. I was not forced into it…I had a choice in the matter. I’m naturally very curious and daring so one way or another I was going to go down that route.
Bontlebame: What was the worst thing about being an addict?
Tikva: I lost a lot of things – mostly my self-worth and trust from my parents. I also became a chronic liar and a thief – just so I get the next fix.
Bontlebame: How did you get clean?
Tikva: God – I got prayed for and stayed & worked at a church for 13yrs -daily life was prayer and the Word. The Word of God brought about the inner healing I needed. I also realised that I was trying to fill a void inside me with drugs, partying and clubbing, little did I know that only God can fill it. I didn’t know it.
Bontlebame: Once again you leave me speechless…I can only imagine how it is to live and work in a church…serious spiritual healing and feeding right there!! I’m envious.
What do you mean being mentally disoriented? Please share an example of the disorientation?
Tikva: I was crazy, cagey, withdrawn and constantly paranoid. I had constant unreal fear for my life and it was obvious to those around me. I felt as though almost everyone was out to get me just as “my chomie” had been out to kill me. From being an A student I became dull. I could not have a constructive conversation with the next person without them picking up that I’m not well. I was literally a cabbage, a walking zombie – lack of a better word. I had severe depression as a result of what I had seen and experienced – and yes – obviously withdrawal from the drugs played part. My parents even took me to a psychologist for help but I couldn’t be helped…
Bontlebame: but look at you know... How did you overcome or are you still overcoming?
Tikva: a) GOD
b) I HAD TO MAKE A CHOICE TO CHANGE AND TURN MY MESS INTO A MESSAGE
Bontlebame: What was/is your main lesson from this experience:
Tikva: It doesn’t matter who you are or what age you are or where you come from : you cannot make it in this world without Jesus.
- It’s important for one to know WHO YOU ARE & WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN LIFE because that way you will be focussed and cannot be shaken.
- Don’t follow the crowd or fight so hard to be accepted that you end up doing wrong things and losing yourself.
- Choose your friends with care, some of them are on assignment to dim the light in you but they are smiling with you daily.
- Life is about choices. As human beings we are presented with choices daily – the choices I make today will affect not only me but also the people that love me (family), so choose wisely.
Bontlebame: Are you living your dream right now:
Tikva: I’m almost living my dream:-)
Bontlebame: and I have no doubt that soon you will live the dream. You have come a long way to the healthy balanced woman wanting to help others that you are today…truly inspirational. You are proof that one can always turn one’s life around; that we need not give up because God takes care of us when we turn to him for help. Well done Tikva. Our experiences and our growth from the experiences is sometimes a reminder of who God is and what he wants us to be…I am happy for the space that you are in right now and have no doubt that your story and journey will help parents and even youngsters who read this. I know that I am encouraged and feel protected by your story.
In conclusion, thank you for your time and honesty. I simply love, respect and honour women like you who understand the value of authenticity and how it impacts the world. Thank you very much for being you and please do not lose this… Final question; what is your favourite religious or spiritual song or any song that touches your spirit and lifts you:
Tikva: Thank you.
My songs are: I give myself away & withholding nothing by William McDowell
Deeper by Marvin Sapp
Tikva’s Contacts: Facebook : Tikva Magadzi
Facebook Page: :Tikvahope Foundation
Instagram : @ms.ti.co & @tikvahope_foundation
Twitter : @TikvaHopeSA & @tikfoundation
#Bontlebame #Womanity #DoingitforGOD #WomenOvercome #UpliftingAfricanTeenGirl