Fighting violence with self-discovery

It was a complete nightmare, except it was real. I was sleeping at my grandmother’s house and woke up with four guys standing over me.

They tied me up.
They beat me. It was two hours of torture. At one point, one of them who had a gun in one hand and a butcher knife in other, asked me: “How do you want to do 
die … knife or gun?” I didn’t respond. All I was thinking was: “I’m not going to die. Not this way. Not now. Not today.”

After that experience, I wanted to get over what had happened as soon as possible. I came to a point where I was, like, “Makhotso, just live,” so I decided to travel. It was a totally unplanned trip. I was really just winging it. I landed
 in Copenhagen and ended up travelling through about 
10 countries. In those three months, I made sure to meet people I’d always looked up to. I met artists and people in arts collectives from Europe and Africa, which was great because I’m deeply passionate about Africa.

Every single person I met was just so amazing. People were opening their homes to me. It made me see that there is actually still so much kindness in the world. It made me believe in my fellow human beings and the human spirit again. I saw that there are actually fucking amazing people in the world. I felt a sense of freedom. And I carry that sense of freedom with me now. Because I am starting to see that the more open you are, the more openness you attract. I came back home not only with a broader sense of what is happening in the world, but also with some really great projects to work on.

Going through that experience at my granny’s house was terrible, yes, but I suppose I can now start to see the dots connecting. — Makhotso Simone (36) as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian

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