by Phindile Ndlovu, Founder and Director of Bhekizenzo Foundation
My response to the question “Are you not too young?” My age often comes up and people are not only shocked but worried about the responsibilities I have acquired. I am 22 years old, married, have a two months old son, and I am a social entrepreneur.
A lot of the times people think the list ends there and assume I have made uncalculated decisions about my life. Believe me, the list does not end there.
Being a wife has been the best decision I have taken, I love my husband and enjoy having someone constant to celebrate and share life with. As a spiritual woman, I value this and it reaffirms my spiritual beliefs and gives me premise for having a family. We get along, he is funny and overall my pillar of strength. Being his wife has ultimately changed my life.
We do encounter hurdles but we get back stronger all the time. We have a great thing going on. When people question why I got married, I really want them to know that I have it easy, my marriage is fun and I love it - it has only enhanced the person they see today…I could not wait till I was 30 for that.
Just when people were getting used to me as Mrs Taps, I announced that we were pregnant. Now this signaled red flags for all the adults in my life. They were worried about my career and all the sacrifices that I did not know I was signing up for. While their concerns were valid and to large extents were concerns I shared too - what I was doing felt right to me. I wanted to have a baby young so that I could start efficiently focusing on my career at the age of 26. I definitely did not want to be 30 with a newborn. I also had a wish to breastfeed, I could not imagine being able to breastfeed while climbing the corporate ladder. Lastly my career direction was not clear - was I a worker or an entrepreneur or both? I had to figure out my life. I used the 9 months to job hunt and to work hard as a social entrepreneur through my foundation - Bhekizenzo Foundation.
During this time, I realized a number of things - organisations are reluctant to hire pregnant women and this is something I plan on taking forward in my campaigns and advocacy work. But going back to what I really want to share with everyone. Yes, I am young and have taken roles that in the past have been roles that older people were not able to successfully fulfill. However, age has not been a factor for me. I have an entire organization running in my name, I moved to Johannesburg at the age of 13 to work at stopping the cycle of poverty in my family. I am a blogger for organizations that are so powerful and who have strong brands. Marriage and a baby have set the bar so high for me. Looking at what I have achieved, I am reminded that in life there is no bar - you just have to keep pushing and excelling.
Yes, I hardly get a night’s sleep of eight hours but then again, that is the price you pay for being young and gifted.
Phindile Ndlovu is passionate about Community Development pertaining skills development and education for the youth. She is experienced in driving life changing community development campaigns. Passionate about self-development and leadership, she works and speaks with young people across the Gauteng Province in South Africa, motivating and coordinating her vision and goal setting workshops through her organization, Bhekizenzo Foundation. Her skillset is based on project design, brand awareness and organizational surveys, amongst many others. Phindile has strong, professional media and communications expertise, particularly with event coordination and campaign strategy planning. She has obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies and Sociology at the University of Witswatersand Johannesburg. Learn more.
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