When Mbidlana was in Grade 11 and Grade 12 she suffered emotional and psychological abuse. The matriculant from Grabouw was molested and raped during her matric year.
“I feel honoured and proud of myself because I thought that I was not strong enough and God looks down on his people,” she said.
Mbidlana was given the special ministerial award for 2018 at the Western Cape National Senior Certificate Awards Ceremony at Leeuwenhof last Thursday. She grew up in challenging circumstances and it was her teachers who assisted her through everything. She obtained a Bachelor pass, with her top scores being for English First Additional Language, Mathematical Literacy and Life Orientation.
“When things were not right at home I would call my teacher and go and sleepover at her house and study and that is what motivated me,” Mbidlana said.
She grew up on Windermere Farm at Grabouw. Her father died when she was in Grade 8. She described her father as her superhero. “I don’t blame anyone for my father’s death, it was hard and my dad wanted me to be a star and I am proud of myself.
"I really wanted to be a sportswoman,” she said
A few years later she experienced another blow when she was molested when she was in Grade 11 and when she was in Grade 12, she was raped. Mbidlana said she couldn’t cope with everything and at times wanted to give up,” she said.
She still struggles to talk about her experience and suffered from depression. In June last year, it all became too much for her so that she had to be hospitalised. She said her mother neglected her after her father died.
“My mother wasn’t always there for me but all these things pushed me to actually better myself and keep pushing to reach my goal,” she said.
In addition to working hard and persevering, Mbidlana committed herself to the sport. Here she really shone and was part of the Under 18 Overberg Netball Team. She also participated in Boland Athletics events and was Sportswoman of the Year at Hoërskool Grabouw.
She also has big plans for the future.
“I have applied to a college. I plan on doing business management. I can’t afford it but I won’t let it stop me,” she said.