By Cynthia Victor:

“I can play the flute”, “”I am a world class swimmer”, ”I’m the only one in my family with green eyes”. These are answers one may expect when they’re asked the question: ‘Why are you special?’. For me, my imperfections make me special. I am a young lady aged 17, with huge eyes and who is rather talkative.

For many years I did not see myself as special. I felt like the whole world was against me. What made it worse was that at a point in my life I felt like the woman who bore me hated me. Every single night I would sit in my room with the lights off and I would cry silently because I felt like I was marked for life as people could see my wrongs, my ugliness. The sad part is that because of this hurt I almost took my own life.

I had very difficult experiences from high school with people taking advantage of my weaknesses just as they did in primary school. In trying to deal with this, I turned into this no-nonsense kind of person who believed in the idea of “I hurt you before you hurt me”. This mentality is now woven into me, I can’t remove this. I used to hurt other people so that they would feel the pain I was feeling until I realized that I wasn’t helping the situation but driving away people who could help me.

Well now you may say “What’s new about this?, we have all heard these types of stories before, so… at the end of it all you’re really not that special”. For me, what makes me different is the strength I now have after overcoming these challenges. From that point I then decided to refocus my life to develop goals linked to my ambitions. With the right direction and help my life changed in a matter of a year. I joined the Bulawayo Junior City Council and eventually became their Junior Town Clerk. I received various high posts at school, one of which was being a prefect. I took up the role of being a television presenter and the Executive Editor of The Junior Citizen under the Bulawayo Youth Development Organization.

The highlight of my year was that I grew closer to my mother and understood why she was the way she was. I got to appreciate that she lived a hard life in the name of giving her children a better life; because of this she is my strength and inspiration.

These things may not be all wow in the world we live in but they are a step and push to a better life for myself and other young women in Africa. As a young African woman I was able to throw away all my anger, frustration and hate and make something of myself. A lot of people die bitter, with nothing accomplished in their lives and all alone. I am special because I know I will leave my mark in every young woman in Africa as I share my story in this campaign

I still have a lot to achieve and challenges to overcome.. So watch this space, here comes Miss Victor.