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Dumazile Mnguni, 52

Widowed mother of six: 29, 26, 24, 22, 21 & 16

Lives in Jeppestown, Johannesburg

I’ve suffered hardships, disappointments, deaths all that, it’s these things that hinder you and make you stuck. I think it’s about putting the past into the past.

I’ve always been selling. When I’m young my mother bought me sweets to sell at school. After I got married I sold polony and cheese, until my husband wanted me to stop.

But after my husband died I had to provide and my life was hard,
I was suffering. I was working as a cleaner but they paid me very little, I had to leave because it was just not right.

The hardest thing was that my husband couldn’t tell me he was HIV positive. I only discovered that I’m HIV positive when he died. I was so angry with him, because I discovered it too late and I was sick.

I like to inspire people with my story. If I talk to a person I say, ‘You see me, I have HIV, so you can look at me. I’m not going to give up, and you must not give up.’ I tell them to go to clinic and take the medicine. I’m not giving up. I can encourage others by what I’ve learnt.

I am a businesswoman now. They see I’ve started to build the foundations of my own house now. Three of my children are in college and two made Matric, the lastborn is in Matric. I am proud, I can take care of my family.