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GOSPEL star Fikile Mlomo is one of South Africa's most inspirational women. In her long-awaited album Noma Kunje, released in October, the singer revealed how she survived abuse.
Mlomo, who hails from Lindelani informal settlement outside Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, said: "I had a rough childhood because at home my mother and grandmother could not afford to buy us many things".
Because her family was poor, Mlomo dropped out of Grade 11 to live with her 21-year-old boyfriend.
"I was only 15 when I entered the abusive relationship and fell pregnant at the age of 16.
"My boyfriend at that time used to beat me up for nothing after he had been drinking liquor. He would come back home late from shebeens and accuse me of things I had not done. Then, when I would defend myself, he would beat me."
She said the abuse continued and the boyfriend would apologise while cleaning her wounds.
This continued until she lost her four-month-old baby.
"Even when I was pregnant, the same routine of abuse would go on until I was admitted to hospital. I delivered the baby prematurely. Miraculously, my baby survived until at one fight we had, she died on the scene."
Mlomo said because she loved him, she stayed at his house until all the wounds had healed and would then go back home as if nothing had happened.
Mlomo said after breaking up with her first boyfriend, she dated again.
"I had hoped to find love and trust again, but to my surprise, the new man was also emotionally abusive."
She said that she entered into an abusive relationship for the wrong reasons, "because I depended on other people".
Earlier this year, Mlomo was diagnosed with TB.
"I had to delay the recording of my third album for almost eight months due to the TB treatment."
She advised women to speak out against woman and child abuse, and ensure that they get help.