My sister was self-destructive and now her son is doing the same


My sister, who died in 2008 at the age of 40, was my role model when I was growing up. She had the nicest clothes, the latest hairstyles and was living it up in Johannesburg with her boyfriend, who was her second child’s baby daddy.


She left Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, before getting her matric to search for the good life in Gauteng. She and her boyfriend travelled all over the country and eventually had a child in 1989. Just a few months after the child was born, they started fighting and eventually broke up. It was alleged that my sister’s best friend moved in with the boyfriend while my sister was kicked out to fend for herself.


She wasn’t used to taking care of herself as she was not educated and never worked a day in her life. There were also rumours that the baby daddy denied paternity for my sister’s son. After this unfortunate situation of losing her boyfriend, my sister was never her old self.

Self-destruction started. She partied a lot, drank too much – and drank anything that came her way. She started smoking, and sleeping around with different men. She has a third child, another boy. This means my sister had three kids with different men.

She succumbed to an HIV related illness in 2008. This is because she never dealt with the loss of her partner and just gave up on life entirely.


My late sister’s second son saw letters from his father that he was denying paternity. He never told us that he found these letters but just kept this information to himself. We saw his behaviour deteriorating. He started smoking weed and kept to himself.

Sadly, the boy is now 30 years old and a rebel who is angry at everyone. He came out of jail in 2016. I tried as much as I can to be a mother figure to him. But even after paying for him to go to college after matric, this did not help. Shortly after I left home, he got himself in with the wrong crowd, smoking more and ended up in jail.

He asked for my help while on trial but the information he gave about what got him in trouble did not make sense and I refused to waste money on a criminal. But I still supported him after his conviction as I believed there was still hope for him. And I strongly wanted him to be rehabilitated and come out a better person.


In jail he seemed to be sorry and started studying. Soon after his release he got a job as a taxi driver. But he started being angry again. I believe he has not dealt with his demons and my fear is he will end up back in jail or being killed.

No one can reach him by phone as he refuses to give us his contact numbers. This pain in the family leaves me wondering if life can ever work out well for us. I am also losing hope that things will ever be fine one day. *Not her real name

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