One of my greatest privileges, my highest calling, is being a mother. The work I do and the businesses I run are not who I am, it’s what I do. Often in interviews, I am asked how I would define who I am. But my answer is always consistent and simple: I am a mother!

But I was a mother even before I was blessed with my own children. I have raised relatives’ children, mentored and raised many young men and women, and today, I stand in awe of what they have become. I celebrate them, as they fulfil their pre-ordained and pre-destined paths.

Two weeks ago, our daughter Bontle ba Morena turned two years old. In my tribute to her and in appreciation of her beautiful being, I told her, “Thank you for choosing me to be your mother”. You don’t choose your children, they choose you.

Renowned spiritual teacher Kahlil Gibran says : “Your children are not yours , they are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself, they come through you but not from you, and though with you, they belong not to you.

“You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you, for life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”

I resonate with this truth, and it has given me an understanding of my role as a mother to many. I am a mother, am firm, a disciplinarian, and I am the first to admit that I can be very hard on kids. But my husband is more on an even keel and measured in his parenting style.

But you learn to parent each child differently, as each of them are unique. Our eldest son, uNkosinathi, is a gentle soul. I learn everyday how to parent him without breaking his gentle spirit.

UShaka, on the other hand, is boisterous, unafraid, loud and holds his own. I have to learn to parent him differently. Bontle stands up for herself and her convictions. She is bold and courageous, and I am learning to parent her.

I have since learnt that each child comes with their unique qualities that need to be nurtured, embraced, loved and celebrated, so they chart their own course and fulfil their God given destiny.

Don’t break their spirits if it does not subscribe to how you were brought up, what you know and the “better version of yourself” you want to create through them.

To the beautiful children I have raised and mentored for the past 20 years, I have seen you come into your own, thank you for affording me the opportunity to learn from you. Your stars are only just beginning to shine. Thank you for the love and the trust. Nginithanda ngenhliziyo yami yonke!