D.I.V.A of the Month – September 2011
Nokupiwa Katom, the confident self starter from Stellenbosch tells us about the power of forgiveness in building self esteem.
Lelemba: Who is Noku?
Noku: Noku is Nokuphiwa Katom, 3rd born of 8, originally from Eastern Cape in Ngcobo and now based in Cape Town-Stellenbosch. She is a woman who is passionate about self development and knowing who you are.
Lelemba: Tell us a bit about your family life and what you do for a living?
Noku: Huhhh Lele! I am a mother, sister, and a daughter. I can not live without my family. I feel safe around them, and they motivate me to be grounded. Everthing I do, I do it for them… “for now” or *while am still single*
Lelemba: LOL! You also run two organizations – Inspired Women in Stellenbosch and Single Parents Association in Khayelitsha – how did this come about?
Noku: I created both of them because of my personal experiences. I have learned a lot of things the hard way. Both projects share the same goal – to build self esteem, self reliance, self acceptance and to find your purpose on earth so that you may live a purposeful life.
I started the Single Parents Organization (an NGO) because I was one of those girls who fell pregnant at a young age. I suffered from low self esteem big time! This led me not to continue with my studies and I moved to Cape Town to look for a job to provide for my child. After a long journey of trying to find who I am, I decided to forgive myself and my past (that was not easy) and I am telling you after that, God opened my eyes!
Lelemba: Its awesome that you used experiences that would otherwise be perceived as ‘bad’ to create organizations that help others get over the things you went through too. How do you manage to balance your work and the organizations with your family life especially being a single mum?
Noku: Without the support from my family and friends, I guess I wouldn’t manage. But my sisters are always there for me. So much that I don’t even have to ask them to look after my boy- they volunteer. Luckily my work is not all that demanding and I run the organizations part time, over the weekends.
Lelemba: You said you suffered self esteem issues growing up –looking at you now and how confident you are and the wonderful work you do – it’s hard to believe that. How did this transformation happen?
Noku: As much as I am a Christian, there were so many issues “in me”. I did not know who I was or what my purpose was. In 2008 whilst I was working at Robertson, I went to a Christian book store where I bought a book by T.D Jakes called “Woman thou art loosed”. I recommend that book to every woman with esteem issues. It tells you who you are, and how to forgive. My main problem was forgiveness hence in my projects I emphasize this important subject. You will never be happy if you are holding grudges in your heart, I learnt that when you forgive, you do not do it for the other person, but for yourself. And when you forgive you may feel that you are sacrificing a lot and that it is not easy……but it is worth it! Often I hear people say: “Move on” but I say “Forgive and move on” I believe that people are holding their success by not forgiving.
Lelemba: Wow, I agree that grudges do hold us back from success. Are you in a relationship right now?
Noku: How I wish …..I am so single Lele!!! But I do not panic, it will happen all in good time. I am waiting for that someone who will sing this song to me “Help me be the best man I can be”*serious face* and I am ready to make that someone happy one day.
Lelemba: What have some of the highlights of your life and/or businesses been?
Noku: Starting the Single Parents NGO was one highlight. Being offered a slot by Radio Zibonele(community radio station in Khayelitsha) in April 2011 was another. Ohhh and how can I forget this one! The organizations 1st annual event on Women’s Day 2011 under theme: YOU ARE A ROLE MODEL and having you Lelemba as a speaker. Being interviewed by Umhlobo wenene fm, and true fm – radio station based in Eastern Cape.
Lelemba: *smiling* And what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Noku: Accepting who I am and where I come from. “You can not change where you come from but you can change where you are going”. I am doing just that. I don’t get intimidated anymore when people say negative things about me because I know who I am and where I am going. I do not allow anyone to look down on me. I love and respect myself and other people so I expect them to do the same.
Lelemba: Bravo!!! Who/what else inspires you?
Noku: My bible, to be specific: Jerm 29:11 says “I have plans for you, not for disaster but for a hopeful future” when I feel like things are not going my way, I always remind myself that God still has plans for me! People like you Lelemba. So young and so down to earth and willing to help. We really need more people like you who are willing to share the information and knowledge they have.
Lelemba: I am humbled by your kind words. Where to from here? Can you share what some of your dreams or goals are?
Noku: OMG! My dream is to see Single Parents Organization in all 9 of our Provinces …even international. At the moment resources and funding are the main challenges. I would also love to run a radio show someday at national level.
Lelemba: I am certain you will! Thank you very much for sharing your story with us. I am sure it will encourage a lot of people out there.