​Grandma knows that in this boy she has a girl — she taught me how to run a house

Victor “Vicky” Moamogwa’s face is done up like a porcelain doll — there’s not a touch of blush and just the slightest hint of eyeliner.

Shoulders swinging from side to side, he rubs the lotion on to his hands, as he strides across the yard from his room to his grandmother’s house.

“Growing up I had never seen my mother in her natural, normal state. She was always in and out of mental institutions. So I grew up considering Nkhono [grandma] Sarah as my mother,” Moamogwa says.

“She took me in after my parents separated, something which caused my mother’s mental illness which she lived with until she died in 2006.”

Today Moamogwa is a 46-year-old man; utterly content that he is the one who gets to look after his grandmother — a relatively mobile one considering she is 102.


“My siblings have moved on to build their own families. It’s as though fate knew that Nkhono would live a long life. And, it turned out that I would be here to take care of her after she raised me since the age of two. She taught me how to cook, clean and run a house especially because she doesn’t like lazy people.”

The two of them, it seems, had a lifetime to prepare for this time.

“Growing up I knew that something was different about me. I just never felt like I was a man’s man. I was never attracted to women.

“In her I have found a friend and a mother. She knows that in this boy she has a girl.”

And because she made his early struggles with his sexuality easier to cope with, Moamogwa, a biology teacher, is comfortable with who he has become.

“I see some of the gay youth struggling with who they are and in need of mentoring. Unlike them, I had her and that got me to get better with age, just like a fine wine.” — Victor “Vicky” Moamogwa (46), as told to Mosibudi Ratlebjane, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s social justice fellow at the Mail & Guardian

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