It was a tearful moment, says Dwayne Henning (26) from KwaZulu-Natal of hearing his mom’s voice for the first time.
And it’s all thanks to social media.
In May last year Dwayne touched many hearts when he posted about his search on Facebook.
“I’m looking for my mom. My sister and I were a few months old when my parents divorced. My mom’s name is Elaine Lamont. I don’t know what my mom looks like and I don’t know exactly where she is. Maybe in Cape Town – that’s the last I heard. I really want to meet my mom and get to know her. I want to know who she is.”
Finally, on 2 January this year Dwayne got a response to his Facebook post. A stranger messaged him saying she knows Elaine, and she gave him Elaine’s number.
“You have no idea how fast my heart was beating. Of course I was excited, but I was also anxious and nervous. But I decided to set those emotions aside and call the number,” says Dwayne, who’s apprenticing to be a mechanic.
“Hello? This is Dwayne, I’m looking for Elaine . . . I think I’m her son,” were his first words when his phone call was answered.
On the other end Elaine burst into tears when she heard her son’s adult voice for the first time.
“She wept. You can’t help it – you’re going through so many emotions at the same time. You’re shocked, you want to run away, and it’s terribly exciting too. I could barely believe I was hearing her voice for the first time in so many years,” Dwayne says.
Elaine and Dwayne’s father, who’s name is being withheld, divorced nearly 25 years ago.
Dwayne says his relationship with his dad had always been tumultuous and they eventually became estranged. They haven’t had contact with each other for five years.
Elaine, who lives in the Western Cape, says she’s tried contacting Dwayne several times but to no avail.
“The most important thing now isn’t what happened all those years ago or the reasons why we were kept apart for so long,” Dwayne says.
“I’m saving every cent now so I can visit my mom. It’s going to be one of the greatest moments of my life – and I’ve been waiting for it for a long time.
“She doesn’t have WhatsApp – she says she’s too old-fashioned for that,” he chuckles.
“But we chat all the time. She uses my half-brother’s smartphone and we send each other voice notes. We’re both incredibly excited to be reunited. For the first time I’ll feel like a whole person.”