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Positively Me: Nozibele Mayaba reflects on her journey in her new book

When Nozibele affectionately known as Nozi enters a room its hard to miss her aura - from her bubbly personality to her contagious laughter - for a second she can make you forget all she has gone through - until she starts talking about it. Positively Me is Nozibele Mayaba’s second biography, an extension of her previous book ‘I Am Still Me’ published in 2020. In Positively Me she dives deep into her personal life and the events leading up to her HIV diagnosis. Nozibele came to our radar after she publicly announced her HIV status on Youtube and quickly became a sought after HIV activist and social media personality. Nozi’s story is an inspiration to all - an outspoken young girl from Gqeberha who’s life became a testimony of faith, hope and prayer.

GLAMOUR had a chat with Nozibele to find out more about the book

Why was it important for you to begin the book about your mother?

The identity of a child starts with a parent, I cannot do justice to my story without paying tribute to her. Everything that I am is essentially her - she influenced the person that I am, the way she raised and parented me added value to the person I became - so I thought that was important and not only my mother’s story but my dad as well because I feel like every other decision I've made stemmed from my experiences with my parents.

What is the difference between your first memoir and Positively Me?

Firstly there is a lot that has changed in the past 3/4 years, in “I Am Still Me“ I did not go into details about Skhu, my marriage and my in laws, because I felt like it was a specific book a love letter to me and I did not want it to follow the cliché of she went through this and then met her prince and lived happily ever after. The book was dedicated only to me. Positively Me still covers the context of where I come from but it also brings in so many different dynamics, my motherhood journey, the dynamics of my marriage and much more.

You shared quite a lot in the book: How did you ensure your story is authentically received whilst keeping parts of it private?

There’s a lot of parts that I’ve kept to myself but there’s also a lot that I shared. Growing up I wish there was someone like me, a person I could reference when I had a tough time. Sharing my journey is inspired by someone who’s just been recently diagnosed with HIV, a teenager who’s contemplating whether to have sex or wait or a couple where one partner is HIV posItive and the other is negative and they don't know how to tell their in laws or their parents or they just don't know how to navigate the space. Sharing my story allowed me to reach people in an honest manner and I will continue to do so as God grants me to.

Image: Instagram/@NoziQamngana

How was the process of writing this book, as you had to relive some traumatic experiences

It was definitely better than the first book, because I wrote it alone but with this one I worked with Sue Nyathi who’s one of my favourite writers- but there were definitely moments. A lot of people sometimes ask if I am completely healed and I always reiterate that the is not time line in healing, I got triggered but there was a new level of healing that I received which I appreciate.

Your spirituality played a huge role in your healing journey and forgiving “Sbu” what made you remain in your faith after everything that happened to you?

When it comes to my spirituality I don’t know anything else ,and Its one something I truly thank my mother for because it was highly influenced by how we grew up. Despite how I felt about the unfairness of my situation my prayer was always ‘If he could only just heal me and I wake up and just be okay, If it could not hurt as much as it hurts“ I physically felt sick but it unlocked a new relationship with God and to this day my relationship with God played and still plays a big role in the work that I do.

In the book you mentioned that God played a role in helping you go public with your HIV status, please elaborate on that?

It was the story of Moses where he gets called by God and he says to God I can’t talk what would you use me and I felt like I was in that situation where I thought there could be a calling but I just did not understand why me and there was so much on stake because it was not only about me. Then I came across Joseph’s story who was sold in slavery by his brothers but eventually became an important person in society and still gave acknowledgement of how his journey was so painful but he understood why it had to happen. There was a particular scripture in the bible that says “What you intended against me for evil, God intended for good”. What I appreciate about my journey is that I took my time because we intend to prematurely accept to share the message and for me it took 6 years to finally come out.

In the beginning of the book you say “ I hope you find parts of yourself in this book” What does that mean to you?

That part makes me emotional. My story is not only about the HIV diagnosis , there’s so much more - my relationship with my dad and my mom - where this personality comes from, so I hope in between pages the reader gets to relate to different aspects of my journey, I want people to find parts of themselves in my journey. If I could do that I would have lived my purpose.

Image: Instagram/@NoziQamngana

What has motherhood taught you?

I had a tough time just before I gave birth and a couple of months after I gave birth because I felt lonely, I had to navigate motherhood alone but I had to quickly learn that the is no time to to dwell into that because there was a baby involved but obviously I had to acknowledge how I was feeling. Being a mom has unlocked a new level of love that I could ever experience, for the fact that I was trusted with Lumi's life still shocks me everyday -I cannot get over it. My son has forced me to allow the process of letting go and going with the flow

Lumi is 16 he stumbles on this book: What’s one thing do you want him to look back on and say ‘my mother did that“

Exactly what you said “ My Mom did that” I hope he is proud and reads the book with a sense of admiration of the journey I travelled.

Three words that define your relationship with your husband Skhumbuzo

Wisdom, Perseverance and Intentional.

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