Burn survivor inspires learners

2017-10-19 06:01
=Itumeleng Sekhu (back), a well-known burn survivor, social activist and motivational speaker visited schools in KwaNobuhle to inspire learners and especially matrics to work hard and be the best they can.                                                 Photo:SUPPLIED

=Itumeleng Sekhu (back), a well-known burn survivor, social activist and motivational speaker visited schools in KwaNobuhle to inspire learners and especially matrics to work hard and be the best they can. Photo:SUPPLIED

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“My scars are external, most people are hiding their internal scars. I am not ashamed of myself.”

These were the words of Itumeleng Sekhu, a well-known burn survivor, social activist, author of What Do Your See? and motivational speaker, who visited schools in KwaNo-buhle to inspire learners and especially matrics to work hard and be the best they can.

She gives motivational talks through her Itumeleng Sekhu Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up to help others.

“I was the smartest kid in my school. That made me popular. I worked hard every day. If you want a certain life for yourself you must work for it, prepare for it.”

Khulisa, another non-profit organisation, and Sovereign Foods invited and arranged for Sekhu to deliver inspirational talks at Solomon Mahlangu High School, Nkululeko Secondary School and the Ithembalethu Project for children with special needs.

As part of Sovereign Foods’ Corporate Social Investment (CSI) mandate they focus on uplifting communities and assisting with educational programmes and other socio - economic programmes.

Sekhu told the learners that, “Before, I cried myself to sleep, but now I go in front of people so that they can ask me what happened.”

Asleep in her bedroom one evening when she was just 11 months old, a burning candle fell on her. This resulted in her being severely disfigured by the fire. Her right hand as well as four fingers on her left hand were amputated and her left ear completely burnt off. She has undergone more than 100 surgical operations.

This did not deter her from reaching her dreams she told learners. She has had a successful career in radio and television for the past six years and published her book What do you see? last year. In this autobiography of Sekhu’s life, she tells a chilling tale revealing the cruelty of children in her childhood, the high value society places on appearances and how it changed her life and direction.

It also is about a girl who took her pain and turned it into power. Power to bring hope that is healing to those with scars.

“I grew up with low self-esteem as 90% of my face is literally scarred. The word beauty was rare. I even tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions.”

She emphasized that having a positive mindset was the most important of all.

  • “Tell yourself that I’m going to do it, it will happen. Study and study very hard, you can get a bursary. My dreams push me to success. Reach your dreams and dream more dreams to where you want to see yourself,” said Sekhu in conclusion.

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