This albinism month we share the story of Bonisile, who opens up about her experience living with albinism
Hi, I’m Bonisile Krystle Roberts (Boni) Born in rural Mpumalanga. My dad was given an ultimatum by his family when I was born to leave us or they disown him. They said my mom was bewitched for having an albino baby. So my maternal grandmother overcompensated with love. She would place me on a tray and take me to work with her. She was a school principal so I quickly became known as “iblompot ka ma’m”. My granny died when I was one and my mom was working long hours as a nurse. She had three sisters and a brother who all had kids in the same age group so we would always live together. My mom moved around a lot with her job and as a result I went to eight schools in eight years.
I matriculated in Willowmoore high school in Benoni and went to Tuks to study BCom Investment Management using nothing but pure faith that the money will come from somewhere. I was eventually granted a Department of Labour disability bursary which changed my life. After my first degree I joined the PIC where I specialised in infrastructure project finance for over my 6 years. While at PIC I completed my BCOM (Hons) in Financial Management and Master of Management in Finance and Investment. I currently run three small businesses and also work as Senior Associate for a Private Equity Company,
Where do I begin? I was a nerd in school so I dated one guy for six years since I was 16 years. He loved me and I broke his heart when I dumped him for having a child. He denied the child for six years and when he decided to accept the child I said I couldn’t be a mom to someone else’s child. Funny how life works because now I’m happily married to a man who has a son. I dated three other guys after my first love, one made me a nyatsi (side chick), one I’d like to erase from my memory and one was a con man who I discovered had many women all whom were monied and supported him financially. I found out when one of them called me. Funny enough she and I have since moved on and gotten married and remain friends to this day. Meeting my husband was the best thing to ever happen to me. He proposed and paid lobola on the same day 5 months after we started dating and said I love you 5 days into our relationship. He was a man on a mission. 10 months later we had a beautiful wedding and in 2 months’ time we will be celebrating our first year anniversary.
I didn’t really experience much discrimination for my albinism except from my paternal family from what I was told.
I do remember an instance when my guidance teacher tried to print me A3 exam papers and the kids giggled on the first day or two. But I also got an extra 20 min for each exam which meant alot for my distinctions especially Accounting. So I milked that disability card as much as I could. But only for exams though. I sat in the front row in all my classes and since I had to concentrate twice as hard as my peers just to keep up, I inevitably become a nerd. Since I didn’t see the board well, I asked the teachers to say out everything they wrote so I could write; inevitably my study methodology became more audio based than visual. I’m a great listener and my memory is better with what I hear than what I see. But I do drive and have had my license for five years now, so my vision is not as bad as it can be when you have albinism. I am comfortable in my skin and love what God has created. There’s more to me than albinism.