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mpilo pics Interview by Mpilo Mahlangu

Allow me to usher your minds to the year Nineteen-Nighty One, Zero Eight, Twenty Eight. A time when the world welcomed ‘Baby girl Cindi’. It was with an indescribable and bountiful joy that her parents declared, ‘KhanyaQhawe’ and so she did! Back to March 2013, this month it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you another great lover of God, dear Sister in Christ and colleague, Miss KhanyaQhawe Cindi. I introduce her not only as the subject of this months’ Health feature but also as a new member of the inspired4writers team.

Over the time I have spent and conversed at length over vast matters with her, a striking attribute of this woman is just how inspired of an individual she is. Not only inspired, but and inspiring person too. Her passion for life is just really admirable and often just makes me smile in admiration when she’s not watching. Ms Cindi’s inspiration and passion are intrinsically packaged in a bubbly personality.

This month I seek to summarise to the best of my ability insight into a typical conversation I not-so-often have, (yet with no doubt enjoy) with KhanyaQhawe.

KhanyaQhawe welcomes me into her room and comfortably chills on her bed and I settle in a comfortable chair as we dine, begin to fellowship and gradually settle into the interview.

Mpilo: So Khanya we writing for health but most people might think what does talking have anything to do with health?  (Giggle) my dad ‘laughed’ once when I playfully said that talking is healthy. But I really believe this. Please agree with me that there’s truth in this statement…

Khanya:  I agree! You know sometimes you can hold something in for so long it can make you sick. It can basically just grow in your spirit. The more you hold it the more the enemy will lie to you. He’ll say keep it in. No! The thing can grow inside of you and start affecting other areas of your life while you can’t see it.

M: Wow and that’s something that actually happened to me once. You know until I started talking to someone…You know, I was going through some stuff at some point and until I actually said, “Ma there’s something I need to tell you, something I want you to know ’ I was battling on the inside. The minute you start speaking to somebody that person can help you and you don’t have to box anything in.

K: Yes true, no man is an island.

M: Praise God!! So, KHANYAQHAWE!!!!! Like gal (girl) I really like your name hey. It’s just so beautiful, unique and powerful. I’m sure I am like only person who calls you by your full name-‘all the time’?

K: (chuckles) you are hey. Actually the funny thing is once people can say the ‘Qhawe part’ they say my full name or drop the Khanya part and just start calling me Qhawe. I don’t know if it’s like an achievement them that they can finally click!

M: (laughing and agreeing). KhanyaQhawe, and so what does your name mean to you. Like uQhawe, what does it mean? How has it become personal to you?

K: For me it’s the whole name in itself. It’s from the fact that I was born 3months premature…

M: Wooooooooooooow!

K: Yes, just over 3months and throughout my mom’s pregnancy there was complications. She bled heavily twice and her gynaecologists believed that those could have been two other foetuses. And the year before she lost my brother.

M: wow!

K: So when I came. [My parents wondered] ‘Wow this child is breathing by herself the day right after she is born. She’s in an incubator but she doesn’t need help’. My dad was like, ‘yiQhawe leli! iQhawe elikhanyayo. Shine the brave one’.

M: (sigh)

K: So ja for me it basically means to shine, to stand for my belief. You know I’ve been through a lot and only now am I starting to realise that God doesn’t give children [names in vain]. My second name is Hope.

M: Powerful…

K: You know I remember Joyce Meyer gave a preaching and she defined hope as [more or less] bringing positive light into a situation.

M: Just like Christ, the hope of Glory! That bit of hope.

K: Yes, and you know the kind of person that I am. You won’t normally see me all doom and gloom.

M &K: (Burst into laughter)

K: Yes you know people just don’t know me like that.  I don’t like being down. When I’m down, I say, ‘Lord this is not of me, this is not from you. What’s wrong’? So for me, my name is (deep pause) Motivation and Strength. I believe I’m the only person in this country who is named KhanyaQhawe. If there is another child out there with the same name maybe it’s because they were named after me.

M: (giggles).

K: Yeah it’s a constant reminder that I am the only one who is like that.

M: But seriously that is the power of confession. Proverbs 18 says that the, ‘Power of Life and death are in the tongue’. It’s almost as if when your dad said those words he was speaking life to you. Khanya you know it’s funny as medical students we know that the lungs of a premature baby are disposed to collapsing because of too little surfactant produced.

K: Mpilo my mom says that they were praying for me that night at my paternal and maternal grandmothers’ homes. Wow, Mpilo thank you for this [conversation]. Wow now I am actually starting to remember all of these great things. God has been there from the beginning! (Literally starts crying and praising the Lord). There’s been turmoil but I have made it through. It’s the grace of God. God is great. I’m turning 22 soon and I’ve never been so convicted of my belief!

M: Wow praise God, talking is so healthy and I testify again! You know my Pastor likes to say there is a powerful spiritual force behind every name and I believe that. I also like my name.  It just has so much more meaning to me now that I am born again because Jesus Christ said, ‘I come to give you Life and Life in its abundance.’ So like I really enjoy my name and I’m honoured that I now can share this life to others through the sharing of His Gospel.

K: True.

M: Gal when I first saw you we were seated at a Wits orientation meeting. You didn’t see me but I saw you. This was because you were one of those freshman who were not afraid to vocalise their thoughts in a house of new people… ‘Important’ people. Do you remember what you asked the house?

K: Hahaha I think I have a slight idea. But no I don’t remember.

M: I’m subject to correction but I think you asked, ‘What about the people that don’t drink?’.

K: (giggles and in a shy-ish tone) I said that?

M: Khanya I didn’t know you that well then but I appreciated your boldness and standing you ground. What makes you so bold?

K: Wow I’m so glad you asked me because I’m told I am bold. Uhm, I don’t really know. I look at others and think that others are so bold. But I think I get it from my dad. I think that gene has been expressed. I don’t like going with the crowd because I’ve seen where it takes me. I think as people we know what is right we just need to stand for the truth. There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘good girl’. (Laughs), sometime you just think about getting into trouble and you decide it’s not worth it. It’s just not worth being the topic of discussion at the next family gathering. Secondly, I’m really coming to realise that everything I do will impact generations after me. The things I do now will impact them; I need to make things easier for them. They don’t need to go through things I went through

M: Sho, that’s powerful. Standing up for the truth! And so Khanya we might have already touched on it a bit but, what would you say inspires you?

K: (deep sigh). So I have this dream right! I want to build the best ‘Mother and Child Hospital in Africa’.


K: Yes. I believe Africa needs that. I’m passionate about health and health of woman. A pregnant woman especially, she carries so much life. I really want to touch lives. I want to build accessible healthcare facilities.

M: I think that’s essentially what life is all about. Not being selfish! It dawned on me the other day that the goal in life is not the accumulation of riches as we are often taught.

K: That is the lowest form of blessing! Another thing that inspires me is that I love learning.

M: Gal so you a graduate now hey, wow! Please tell me again how that feels. Walking on Jorrisen road and you this Wits graduate?

K: I won’t lie, initially I just had the feeling that the first degree is done. Let me move onto the next thing.

M: Khanya but I’m sure a bit of a celebration…

K: (laughs) I’m coming to that. I did celebrate and appreciate the graduation. I’m really excited about the one I’m busy perusing now. As a child used to say, ‘I want to have a lot of qualifications’ so I am excited about this degree. Although I still get mistaken as a first year student…

M: Would say it was an easy ride for you or did you face some challenges?  

K: (quickly answers) NO! In first year I struggled with Chemistry and Biology and I thought I was going to repeat. I couldn’t understand how other people were acing these subjects. But by the grace of God, I made it and managed to get a distinction in Psychology. Then came med school and I failed nearly every Anatomy and Physiology test. Anatomy was worse, I wrote the sup (supplementary examination) and it was tough. The pain! I remember getting my end of year results: I bumped into a friend who had just found out that she was to repeat. What made it worse is that Wits wouldn’t release my results because of R250. Before I could even see my results I remember thinking:  O Lord, I am repeating. I didn’t even bother trying to clear that R250. I went home thinking it’s over. But I thank my dad for his support, he walked me to that office and we went to fetch my result. When I heard ‘You Passed’, I fell on the floor right there at med school. I was just so happy. Third year was great (Khanya starts shouting in praise again).

M: What would you say was the greatest thing you learnt out of perusing a degree?

K: I am much more capable than what I think I am.

M: There’s no way you could have done it without the Lord, we praise His name. What are you busy doing now?

K: I am busy doing my Honours in Pharmacology. Not a lot of doctors have strong pharmacological background.

M: Hold up, you still want to pursue a medical degree? Is that still the plan…

K: Of course! Of Couuuuurse! Mpilo, so many things are telling me to just do your Masters in Pharmacology and become a Doctor of Pharmacology. I want to be a Medical Doctor.

M: Wow Khanya you were born for such a time as this! You still want that degree…

K: Yes! When God gives you something you hang onto this. I want to be a doctor; I believe my pharmacological background will assist me greatly. It’s not easy, it’s an everyday struggle but I know that I was born for such at time as this.

M: What I’ve also noticed about is that you’re a busy body. How do you balance your time? That is in between time with Jesus and serving at church, family and friends?

K: I have terrible planning. It’s not good. (Points at timetable next to bed) I have only followed this once.  Reminders on my phone have helped a bit. But to answer your question no I don’t have one. But I’m trying to follow a timetable and I’m asking God to help me to stick to it.

M: Khanya last year you were boxing….How is that going? Our talents are testimony of His glory and greatness. What talents can you say you have? I know drama is somehow involved…

K: Yes boxing, I love it and am still doing it. My other talent is acting! I’m told I have a voice for soprano, but one thing I know God gave me is an acting ability. I can put on many accents. (Khanya adopts a British then Coloured tone).

M: Where do you see yourself one day?

K:  Being a Gynaecologist. And that’s just part of it; I want to win a Nobel Peace Prize…

M: So Khanya I know you are a talker. Inspired4writers, how do you feel about writing?

K: Nervous! Wow I feel like you people are so up there, mature and deep and I ‘phapha’.

M: (laughs). No please don’t feel like that. You know we’ve prayed about this move and committed this plan to God for Him to prosper it according to His will. It’s the conversations like this that inspire. I’m looking forward to having your personality in Inspired4writes.

K: (laughs) Oh okay.

M: Do you have any ideas of what you want to do? What made you accept the invitation?

K: I’m attracted to what it’s all about. You can actually see that it’s of God. It’s honest and pure. It’s just an exciting thing.

M: Any fears? I remember when Kabelo called me I was like yoh, why me? I remember thinking: a) ‘Esteemed’ people and people in my class are going to read this and b)am I qualified enough to write in a health feature as an undergraduate. What’s you fear if any?

K (Lol) My language. I feel like I’m not that articulate…

M: Lol you’ll be fine. Just enjoy it. I write the way I speak.


mpilo pic  Inspired4writers is pleased to welcome KhanyaQhawe to the team. A woman made for such a time as this.