Isaac has a story to tell. Not just any story, no – he HAS TO tell HIS story.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Faces of a New Generation | Isaac 002

The first couple of days I spend at Ikageng he comes up to me and asks me questions about what I do and why I do what I do and why I keep coming here and why I don’t sit and speak with him and ask him questions… at first I am unsure as to what to make of his somewhat forceful nature. I want to ask him what he thinks his business is to ask me all these questions, but then I get hold of my still deeply rooted German nature of feeling uncomfortable when starting a conversation with complete strangers… and realise that what drives Isaac is not rudeness or lack of respect or tact.

He just has to tell his story. The need for him to connect with others and share his past is so strong, he wants to write a book and become a motivational speaker – the only ways he can imagine to reach others, other teenagers like himself, who have experienced the unthinkable; teenagers who believe they are worthless, hurt beyond a point of caring and incapable of believing that life is good and that we are supposed to live happily, abundantly and full of love for ourselves and others.

When children, teenagers, adolescence – anybody really – get to this point they become extremely vulnerable and easily get on the wrong track. Especially if they don’t have loving, caring parents who look out for them. Next thing you hear they join a gang, become involved in crime, drugs, you name it and so their life spirals out of control.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Faces of a New Generation | Isaac 001

Isaac is well aware of this, thanks to God for not going down that road and is determined that sharing his story will help others. I commend him for his determination and so all I want to do is let him tell his story.

“My name is Isaac. Isaac Tseko. My surname is Mkhize.
I am 19 years old.
I joined Ikageng in 2008.

This is my story:

When I was three years old my mother abandoned me. I can’t even remember her face. I have no idea where my parents are.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Faces of a New Generation | Isaac 003

I did not have a good childhood. I grew up living with the people I call my parents. They did not treat me well. They used me like a slave. I lived with them until I was 18 and then they told me that they were my foster parents. It was so painful to learn that my real parents just left me with these people, people who treated me so badly. I even missed school because I was treated so badly. I failed Matric. My heart was so painful. All I had wanted was to finish school.

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I was sodomised. Twice.

I ended up in jail – accused of stealing. I never stole nothing from nobody. Nobody cared. Least of all my foster parents. I had to stay for three days and when they let me out and I got back to my room I found the things I was accused of stealing. I was tricked by bad people.

I wanted to kill myself. And this was not the first time.

In 2008 I joined Ikageng. With their help I have found a new place to stay, have gone back to school and am now finishing Grade 11. That makes me very happy. It means I can do my Matric next year and start studying.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Faces of a New Generation | Isaac 007

I want to study in England. Because I want to learn English properly. Language is important and the ability to express yourself well to reach people. I want to reach people. I want to help others overcome the adversities of life when you are born into disadvantaged circumstances like me.

My dream is to become a writer and a motivational speaker.”

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Faces of a New Generation | Isaac 009

Isaac is currently writing his a book (his f i r s t book as he calls it) – he carries it with him, wherever he goes, on a memory stick…

I admire birds – they don’t know what’s waiting out there for them but they spread their wings and fly off anyway!

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