WATCH: Turning young lives around
Maudlin Mabi, 49, a manager at the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) and the owner of the three-star Dimso Guest House, has been a pillar of strength to at least 10 youths.
Apile Smandla, 25, who nominated Mabi as a Daily Dispatch/Johnson & Johnson local hero, met Mabi last year as she sat sobbing on the side of a King William’s Town road.
“That day I was on a suicide mission. My life was meaningless with no hope at all. I just wanted to die because of everything that was happening in my life.
“I had been disowned by my family and shamed by the community. I was ashamed of the person I had become due to the misery of being alone. I had nobody in my corner.”
Smandla had just received an SMS from her landlord saying her children had been burnt in a fire.
“Mama stopped and invited me into her car and asked what was wrong. So I told her my life story and immediately she said ‘let’s go and check on the children’.
“When we got there they were fine. She noticed how my landlord ill-treated me, and she took me and my children shopping.
“Within minutes of meeting me for the first time, she trusted me with her bank card and allowed me to buy groceries and everything we needed.”
The mother of three said she had never experienced such care and generosity.
“Since the day we met she has been telling me about God and the wonders he had planned for me. Daily she would SMS me, checking up on me and inspiring me.”
Smandla said Mabi started talking to her family and brought “peace” among them and also helped her get a job.
Mabi also invited Smandla to live with her until she got on her feet.
Mabi meanwhile said Smandla was one of the many children God had placed in her path.
“I cannot turn a blind eye to children in need. I have a gift and God continues to use me to help young people who seem to be misguided.”
Odwa Magwentshu, 25, has been living with Mabi for more than 10 years since his mother died.
“She has been a good mother to me and has helped me attain my diploma, among many other things I have accomplished,” he said.
“That has all been possible because she has believed in me.”
Noxolo Mbombotho, 33, who works at the guest house, was also taken in when she had nothing.
“She has been a mother, friend and boss to me. I am employed and I have a place of my own thanks to her.”