“There was a time in my life when I never wanted to talk about my scars, at least not publicly. I never thought I would.”
These are the words of Tabita Busani as she detailed her life experience of getting married young and being physically and emotionally abused by the person who claimed to love her.
The 28-year-old mother of two hosted an event called My Scars My Crown at LookOut Hill in Khayelitsha on Saturday.
Its aim was to create a platform for women to talk openly about their scars and to encourage others to speak out.
Ms Busani, who is a radio presenter at Zibonele FM community radio station, said she got married in 2012 when she was 19-years-old.
But her marriage only lasted a year before social workers intervened and advised her to file for a divorce.
At that time, she said, it had not occurred to her that she was in a abusive marriage even though she was being physically assaulted and emotionally abused.
But her pain did not end after she left her husband.
After the divorce was finalised, she said, she suffered depression and did not feel ready to face the world again.
She feared that she would be labelled “umabuya ekwendeni” – a person who comes from a broken marriage.
It took time for her to accept the fact that she was a divorcee at a young age and the healing process took years.
Ms Busaini said she used to hide the fact that she had been married before as she feared the stigma attached to divorce.
Then she decided to move from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town so she could make a fresh start.
“I was angry at myself for the decisions that I took, not necessarily at the man who abused me,” she said.
“I promised to never let my pain be in vain, vowing to never let another person feel the sting and shame of being alone in their shattered world as it crumbled down around them. I want people to share their stories so the world can heal. There is purpose in pain. The pain that I suffered certainly broke me but it also strengthened me in an amazing way.
I’m who I’m today because of the pain and suffering. I’m wiser now. I believe that silence kills too many of our chances to unite humanity. But when you share your story, you do that for the sole purpose of bringing others healing,” she said.
Ms Busani said while she had had subsequent disappointments, she refused to focus too much on what other people thought of her because her experience had made her stronger.
Through the event, Ms Busani said she wanted the women to take back their power and remind them that the future was bright – uyakwazi uvuthulula uphinde uphakame.
Ms Busani said she is in her second year of a law degree programme at the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Also at the event was Pastor Nelly Ngxabani, who encouraged women to never underestimate the power of God and to remember that He is with them each time they face hardship.
Ms Ngxabani urged women to turn their scars into their crowns.