Mamkhedi Masha (38) survived a hail of bullets from an abusive lover. This is her story.

Masha spent two weeks and two days in a coma and only found out two months later that her former lover ended his life by hanging himself.

“Now I am a tetraplegia with C5 and C6 spinal cord injury, but I never let the disability destroy and define me as I am not a disability living but a person with a disability,” she told Rise and Shine.

The former traffic cop now turned writer holds firm to the belief that she can achieve almost anything in life, so long as she puts her mind to it. Becoming a traffic was not easy for her. First, she had to work at the Somalian shop in Marabastad, a business area near the city centre of Pretoria, to support her son and family. She sent out applications for jobs and was eventually appointed as a secretary in a bus company. “Whilst working there I obtained a driver’s licence which helped me to apply and be appointed as a Traffic Officer in Gauteng Provincial Government.

Her life changed when she met her boy­friend who was a taxi driver at the time. “We were in good terms for five years. Then he started accusing me of cheating while he was the one who was cheating.

He became very abusive towards me,” Masha revealed.

“I found a job for him in Witbank where he was working as a bus driver then I told him that it was over between us. He started to stalk me until the day that he shot me in my flat in Pretoria. During that time, I was having a protection order and a case number but he shot me in cold blood,” she added.

After her recovery, Masha registered her company offering services such as motivational speaking, book publishing and printing.

In 2018, she wrote and published her first biography entitled Ngodu Yeo E Tswago Lerotseng (The Horse’s Mouth). In the book Masha shares how she was raised by maternal grandparents and her poverty stricken background. “Some of the people in my village did not want to be associ­ated with my family because of their poor background,” she wrote.

She made it again by writing and pub­lishing her second book, Ke Phologile (I survived) which explores gender based violence in the hands of her former lover who was also possessive and insecure.

In 2019, she published her motivational book entitled Mamkhedi Masha’s Undying Spirit. “I am now finishing my fourth book,” she revealed.

Her dream is to open a centre for the vic­tims and survivors of domestic violence. “Young people will get help with their homework and assignments. Similarly, create employment opportunities for them by offering agricultural lessons,” she said.

Masha wants to break the circle of violence against women and children and the physically abused by sharing with them domestic violence stories and inspire them with her own achievements. Show them that her disability couldn’t hold her back to achieve greater things in life.

“I do not want to impress anyone but I want to encourage my peers to stand up and empower themselves even with their disability and after surviving toxic rela­tionships and marriages,” said Masha.

Her message to her peers living with dis­abilities is: “You are not disabled but only physically challenged.”

To those who are in a relationship or marriage with an abusive partner she said: “Just imagine yourself in a coffin and picture the hurt that you are going to cause your children, family, friends and all those who love you if your abuser kills you. Please leave while you are still alive. Just tell yourself this – I will not allow my body to be his crime scene anymore.”

The rehabilitation centre that admitted Masha noticed her courage, self-confi­dence and optimism and made her their motivational speaker. “I am now support­ing and motivating their patients. I never let disability destroy me, be an obstacle to my dreams but I took it as a stepladder to go up and achieve my dreams along the way,” she said.

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