SOUTH AFRICA – Actress Maumela Mahuwa, renowned for her role as one of the chief’s wives Susan on “Muvhango”, has opened up about her troubled upbringing after the death of her mother two weeks ago.
Mahuwa reveals that growing up, her mother, who was raising her and her brother at the time, had no source of income following her divorce and they had to live with her maternal relatives. Family members offered to look after one of her mother’s children and each time they would pick her brother over her. She says this made her feel ostracised.
Her mother went on to abandon her and she had to live on her own in Mamvuku for an entire year. She offered to wash dishes and scrap pots for left overs from the neighbours, with family members providing her with food sporadically.
“My childhood wasn’t easy now that I look back at it, I didn’t have an active father. My mom and I were not close. I was just an island.
“I was very hard-headed because I believed my mom preferred my elder brother over me,” Mahuwa explains.
“I had to suffer the neglect, hunger and everything.
“She left me for a year, alone. I was 11 or 12 years old at the time and I was impressionable, but I survived.”
Eventually she moved in with her aunt who kicked her out within three months. She then moved in with her uncle with whom she stayed for some years.
“She had a spaza shop and things would go missing and of course I was the suspect as I was an outsider. She said things like ‘my kids go to Sunday school, they don’t steal’.
“So I started to steal, because I got beaten for things I didn’t do,” Mahuwa shared.
She said her mother came back five years later and she moved back in with her, and she said she was never happy.
“She once said to me in front of my school friend, ‘you know Maumela is not supposed to be this dark; it’s because she doesn’t bath’,” Mahuwa recalled.
She says she reconciled with her mother following the death of her brother in 2004.
“When my brother died we needed to create a relationship between us. It was also the first time I saw my father. He came to the funeral, but I couldn’t build a relationship with him,” Mahuwa said.
“The first time my mother said ‘I love you’ was on my 30th birthday. I was so happy I ran around the house. I wouldn’t say we were close, but when she died we were at a better place.”
Aside from her work on “Muvhango”, Mahuwa is currently working on a gospel album titled “Maumela 1” to be released on October 3.
Later in the year she will be the host of a new motivational TV show titled “Think Like a Boss”. — Sowetan.