Gugu Nxumalo is an amazing friend of ours who has asked us to share her story. She is a young, vibrant 18-year-old Zimbabwean woman living in the bustling, overcrowded inner-city of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her infectious hope stands in stark contrast to her story which is one filled with tragedy and revealing of the systemic failings and injustices in our context. Despite this she has also remarkably overcome. In telling her story, she defiantly says, “I may be vulnerable, but I am not a victim. I dream of a just world… I want to dedicate my life to hope.” Her story gives insight into the underbelly of Johannesburg’s poverty and points to the hope found in Jesus’s church demonstrating Christ’s kingdom ways.
Gugu’s family fled the economic melt-down in Zimbabwe crossing the Limpopo river in 2008. They moved into an inhumane, derelict “hijacked” building. While there, at the age of just 11, she was first sexually assaulted - the first of 4 violent sexual assaults she has so far experienced. Gugu has further faced 3 evictions, xenophobic attacks and multiple encounters with police brutality. She describes her hardest moment as “watching my hero, my mother die of cancer in 2016. My mother was initially denied treatment from a government hospital because she was a foreigner, and as a result only started chemotherapy after 15 months… she died just a few weeks later.”
While Gugu was staying with her aunt, during the final months of her "o" levels at school she got evicted for and Lawyers For Human Rights worked to return her to her home. She was returned after 5 weeks of living on the streets. It was while she was living on the streets that she wrote her final exams. Despite these extremely difficult circumstances, she obtained the following results:
*Please note that monies raised above Gugu's educational needs will go into the General Neighbours education fund and be used for educational expenses of other children we support.