“I believe I’m free and I have set him free”
Naomi Masiane also known as Masechaba (mother of the nation) is a dynamite in the true sense of the word. Her grace and God’s favor has made her an exuberant role model. She is the founder of Naomi M and the brains behind Kananelo M Trust.
Masechaba was born and spent her early years with her grandmother in Zeerust. She experience rape from a family friend and church member. “I remember that day like it was yesterday and I adored him because I saw him as a father figure because my father was absent “says Naomi. Three years into the continuous rape and neglect she finally got to escape to Johannesburg and moved in with her parents. “I remember thinking I’m finally free” she says.
Naomi’s move to Johannesburg proved to be a bigger nightmare. “My father was an abusive alcoholic and a shebeen owner and my mother was a nurse and often worked night shifts” says Naomi. Her life was about to wreak havoc as she was often left alone to operate the shebeen. This lead to her being repeatedly raped by drunk men. When the first offender at the shebeen first raped her, Naomi says; “ I didn’t fight him because I was previously exposed and understood what was about to take place”.
Masiane’s mother was not available for her in any way. Her mother’s silence taught Naomi to be silent and along with her other many traumas she started cutting herself to relieve the pain. At this point Naomi believed that pain was love.
“Everyone that said they loved me hurt me” said resilient Naomi. “My parents said they loved me but they hurt me and my rapists said they loved me and they hurt me” she says. By the time she met her first boyfriend she believed that love is expressed through pain. It so happens that her first boyfriend was abusive and later in life her ex husband carried the same trait. “I know that it’s okay to go through pain but it’s important to learn to get out of pain” she says.
On October 30, 2021 Naomi met one of her rapists face to face for the first time. “I believe I’m free and I have set him free” she says.
Through the years of being raped at a young age she experienced difficulties conceiving naturally and she opted for IVF which was costly. If the procedure was unsuccessful she would have to pay again and start the process all over. Luckily the IVF was successful the first time. Masechaba gave birth to a premature 5 months baby.
Through her ordeal, Masechaba established Naomi M to give a voice to the voiceless. When the foundation started she only mentored girls. However later thought “how can I mentor only girls yet a boy child is misguided and someone’s possible future husband, I saw that as an injustice to a girl child” said Naomi. As the brain behind Kananelo M Trust she wanted to advocate for infertility and assist women to access the right channels. The organisation also offers a helping hand to premature babies and they assist with premature nappies which are expansive as well as clothes. Kananelo Trust will be officially launched on December 4, 2021.
Masechaba is seen as mother of the nation because she is diverse and able to resolve more than one problem in society. “As a mother you can’t advocate for one thing”, she says.
Naomi has been raped numerous times, abused and hospitalized for 7 operations to undo the damage caused by her rapists. Currently she operates with one lung due to incorrect medication prescribed when she was diagnosed with TB.
Through it all her voice is heard and her silence broken. “We should learn to dance in the rain and learn the ability to see past stressful circumstances” she says.
Naomi wears a lot of hats, she is a bank manager, mc, mentor, life coach and editor in chief for a magazine called Fetch your life. The magazine allows woman to tell their stories about their struggles and ultimately fetch their llives.
“Fetch your life, your dreams and never get stuck in one place” Naomi concludes.
By Sandra Lesenyeho