fcbdce9de301.jpgTwo years ago, 19-year-old Lindiwe Mkhasi had to drop out of school to parent her two younger siblings after their mother’s death.

“In 2011 March, my mother died. The reason behind her dying was because she had AIDS and her CD4 count was 3. She didn’t start her antiretroviral treatment on time but she knew about her status because she told us 10 months before she died. She said by telling us this ,it will make a difference in our life when we are older,” said Mkhasi, who lives in Ermelo which has one of the highest rates of HIV in the country.

“I’m became a mother to my three siblings, after my mother death. Sometimes I’m feeling like it’s just a dream that I will wake up to but deep down I know it’s not a dream but a reality. Being a mother at a young stage of life it’s not easy or a joy,” she said.

“It was heart-breaking to see my mother on her last breath crying because she was leaving us forever and most important thing is hearing her to say: ‘I am so sorry for leaving you and making you a mother to your brother and sister, forgive me my daughter because I never meant this to happen.  She just said I love you my children and die just like that,” said Mkhasi, with tears dripping down her face.

“Things will never be the same after losing our mother, the only parent I ever knew since I was born. I started working at the early stage because I had to provide money for school fees, pay rent and buy food for my siblings.”

Despite the hardships, Mkhasi stressed: “I’m proud to be a mother to my siblings and still be a virgin. Hopefully, I will stay as a virgin until I find the right person to share my life with.”