The country may soon know the true identity of Zephany Nurse who was stolen from a Cape Town hospital when she was a baby.
Zephany will turn to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria on August 13 to have a ban that protects her identity lifted.
She wants this urgent order as a book telling her life story is waiting to be published soon.
She said in an affidavit filed at court that she is now ready to reveal her identity. “I am now in a place in my life where I wish, by virtue of my own informed and voluntary decision, to have prohibitions on the disclosure of my identity lifted.”
She said this will allow her to tell her story, including via a book that has been written and which is waiting to be published.
Zephany said she agreed to have her story published after careful consideration.
The now 22-year-old was 17 when it came to light that she was stolen from her biological parents during birth at the hospital and raised by another family.
Her story caused a media frenzy but as she was still under 18 at the time, her true identity could not be revealed.
She was, however, on the brink of turning 18 and as she feared that the media would reveal her identity, she turned to court with the help of the Centre for Child Law.
Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann issued an order in April 2015 that her identity be protected.
Zephany now said in court papers that it was vitally important to her at the time to protect her identity.
She said she then only recently found out that the person known to her as a mother, was in fact the person who had stolen her.
“This was hugely traumatic for me.”
She also said that she felt confused, hurt, angered and ashamed. She said it was difficult to come to terms with the information and it felt as if her entire life had been a lie.
She said she desperately needed time to process the information and come to terms with it, but the media hype made it impossible.
“I was constantly hounded by journalists, wanting a scoop on my story.”
Zephany said her situation is now a lot different as she eventually managed to come to grips with her “new reality.”
This was made possible through professional help.
“I have had time to accept what happened to me as a child and I have come to terms with the actions of my “mom”, who I have forgiven.”
“I have reached a point where, as part of my healing process, I feel it is necessary to tell my side of the story and on my own terms.”
Zephany said the fact that the court protected her identity assisted her to heal. She added that she strongly support the application by the Centre for Child Law in which it, among others, ask that the identity of victims must be protected, even after they had turned 18.
The Constitutional Court still has to deliver its judgment in this regard.
Zita Hansungule of the Centre for Child Law meanwhile said Zephany made a conscious and informed decision to reveal her identity and the centre and other applicants in the matter support her decision.
But the centre’s stance on the protection of children’s identities remains, she said.