She’s learned how to cope and thrive in tough times, now Tshepiso Phosa is helping other women deal with pain
She’s a highflyer and the daughter of struggle stalwarts Pinky, a former MEC and MP and Mathews Phosa who is a prominent politician and former premier of Mpumalanga.
The 27-year-old is a force to be reckoned with, she cut her teeth in business when she invested in Brent Oil Filling Station in Mbombela when she was just 24 after she had worked at another filling station in Irene, Pretoria, during her university days.
After three years, she sold the station after it was renamed Milviforce Puma and ventured into wholesaling. She was the first woman to sit on the board of directors of iCollege Pumas, the Mbombela-based professional rugby team, is a director of companies and philanthropist.
One would think she has a protected and trouble-free life, but the businesswoman says that couldn’t be further from the truth. “You could have all the success in the world and be from a prominent family but all of that doesn’t protect you when abuse strikes. I had to learn the hard way that queens don't settle, only dust does,” she says.
Just last year she had to deal with abuse at the hands of a former boyfriend who strangled her while the two were on a trip to China.
"I flew back with him and when we arrived at the airport, I remained calm as I wanted to fetch my belongings that I had left at his house. When he left for work I started packing in fear as he had confided in me about a lot of scary stories concerning his life," Tshepiso says.
It was then that her ordeal was revealed to her parents whom she hadn’t told about the incident.
“I had called an Uber to pick me up from his house and I had a panic attack and passed out in the Uber. I was rushed to hospital and subsequently hospitalised. That’s when my parents found out about the abuse,” she says.
Meanwhile when her ex boyfriend got back from work and realised she was gone, he texted Tshepiso, instructing her to "come home". But she knew it was not an option. "A home is a place full of love and peace and this was not it. The day he strangled me, part of me died. Not even my own father has mistreated me or harmed me brutally," she says.
She lost her voice for two months and has permanent damage to her throat but is glad she was able to leave the relationship. "I had to have an introspection and knew enough is enough. Abuse is not easy to overcome but it is possible when you decide to close the door," she says.
Now she wants to use this, and other traumatic experiences such as being raped by a neighbour when she was only 6 years old, to help other women find ‘fuel’ to overcome and thrive after challenges. Speaking about her newly launched book, Fuelling Futures: From Influence to Impact, which she co-authored with Timothy Maurice Webster, an author of four bestselling books, Tshepiso says it details intimate moments about her life and addresses real issues that people face every day.
“I have gone through severe depression, attempted suicide, grew up on chronic medication and have consequently seen various psychologists from a young age. Through this book I hope to help other women who find themselves in similar situations to find the mental, spiritual and physical fuel to come out stronger,” she says.
"It’s important to heal from our pain and brokenness, it’s about transforming your pain into power."
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