At first glance Mabusang Malotane, 42, does not look like a conservative Tswana lady with traditional values. If you look closely, where her sunglasses are tucked into her blouse, dip the neckline to reveal the tiniest hint of ink…
Beneath her fashionable corporate appearance, she has deeply held beliefs. Beliefs that have helped her to overcome a terrible battle. For Mabusang, her tattoo is a symbol of the courage it took to survive one of the worst ordeals a mother could ever encounter.
When she speaks about it, her voice is soft, yet confident: “My daughter was raped in 2014. A while after that, she tried to commit suicide. In hospital, she was initially diagnosed for depression, but she didn’t really get any better. Some four months later, she was re-diagnosed with Bipolar II and we pulled out the stops. I had to get all the help I could – for her and for me. It took a while to get her on the correct meds because psychiatric treatment takes time to get right. There’s no one way to treat trauma and suffering. Now she has a great psychiatrist, who manages the dosage, and a psychologist, who helped her get through the worst of it. In order to recognise what we had been through, we both got tattoos on our chest, next to our hearts, which reads ’avec douleur vient la force’. This means ‘through pain comes strength’”.
Throughout Mabusang chose to forge a path of positive engagement. Instead of drowning in fear and rage, she fought back the negativity by learning how to meditate. She focused on her own health and undertook a routine yoga practice. Two years after the hospitalisation, she returned to her expertise in marketing and event management and started her own business, Shai Boi Project Management. This marketing, event, and brand management company operating out of Melrose Arch embraces a team of creative professionals who offer solid expertise in dynamic marketing, innovative events, and compelling brand management.
Nearly four years later, they celebrate their survival. Shai Boi is gaining solid ground by creating platforms to project brands directly to their target audience. “It’s been healing,” she says, “to use all my talents to create messages in a captivating manner that entertain, educate, and enhance a company’s brand personality and ethos. It helped me to stay connected to the core of my spirituality. I used to think I would kill the perpetrator, but now I pray to find forgiveness for him. I also try to learn something new every day.”
This year, her daughter graduated with a Bachelors in 3-D Animation. “Perhaps working out some of the storylines of survival through this means has been part of her healing? That’s what I focus on as my triumphant moment. We hope she’ll go to the US to practice her skills, but she is also thinking about doing an honours degree. If the latter, I will support her in her studies as long as she is hungry for education. Either way, that strength is where we chose to focus.”
“It’s healing to share this story. We’ve been silent about this too long, and now, talking about it… it eases some of the wounds.”
Shai Boi Project Management are one of the businesses enrolled on the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme. To find out more about the programme, click here.