She grew up as a short and extremely petite girl and was often the laughing stock at school because of her body.

Noluthando Mbatha tells Move! how she has learnt to accept her tiny body as it is and embrace it. The brave 21-year-old uses the pain she has endured to motivate others through the talks she has at different schools.

THE ODD ONE OUT

Noluthando from Lotus Gardens, west of Pretoria, grew up in a loving home with her mom, late dad and younger brother. Her family loved and adored her even though she was perceived as tiny and ‘different’ in the eyes of the world.

“Some people, including family, had a tendency of asking my mom questions like, ‘Is your child eating well? Why is she so small? Who does she take after?’ It used to hurt my mom because she knew I was healthy and well but she had to deal with scrutiny from others.”

As a child, Noluthando says she was aware that children her age were much taller than her.

“Schoolmates would often tease me about my height and weight. I would cry about it because I didn’t choose to be like this,” says Noluthando. After years of dealing with rude comments from others about her body image, she had a better experience in university.

“When I got to varsity, all the teasing stopped. No one cared about how I looked, as long as I was happy,” she says.

CHALLENGES OF BEING PETITE

The second-year public relations student at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) was a model since she was only five years old.

She had to quit at age 17 because of her height. “I was disappointed but decided not to dwell on it,” she says. Finding clothes and shoes that fit is an ongoing battle for Noluthando. “I have to buy most of my clothes and shoes online because it is hard to find a perfect size,” she says.

MOTIVATING OTHERS

After joining Tshwane FM as a radio presenter, Noluthando found a new purpose in life. Through her job, she motivates listeners and school learners to never let anything stop them from shinning. “I want to be the reason someone is resilient in life. Most times people who tease you have self-esteem issue. Laugh it out and just move on,” she advises.