At midnight on the 12th of August 2016, I was involved in a tragic car accident that led to me losing a great friend and left me fighting for my life in an intensive high care unit for almost three months.
Since that fateful night, my life has taken a drastic 360-degree change.
Mentally, spiritually and physically, I have a different outlook on life, people and the world.
I have grown to understand that God exists and is alive, and that is a non-negotiable fact because of my personal experience with him.
That I made it through over six major life-changing surgeries and the fact that I am alive, that I can walk, and that I still smile still shocks many people.
The path forward…
Through all that happened, my passion for being photographed lived on. It became part of my healing process. My story didn’t only have an impact here in South Africa, but my social media presence (@madame_blog) brought me to the attention of a London based media company – Barcroft TV and they documented my journey.
Once this was released on YouTube, my interaction with millions of people reacting to my story sky rocketed.
Here is my feature on Barcroft TV - Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHCsn2QVT-w
To me, #iKasiOriginal means to tell one’s story in an authentic way without sugarcoating any of the details. The documentary focuses on the matter of fact aspects of my experience, but there is more. The truth is that I would not have made it through all of this without the presence of God. Also, I would not have felt good about my body without the never-slacking efforts of my Champion iKasi Original photographer @ian_lewis_onbekend who made sure we pushed the boundaries of originality and in-your-face content. Our regular photo shoots taught me to look past my physical scars and embrace them.
He is an #iKasiOriginal because of his attention to detail and willingness to work with a stubborn survivor. Our weekends were filled with capturing my post-operative body in a variety of natural and urban contexts. At first, selfishly, it was all about me, but as time passed it became a relationship where my photographer and I became one with the environment we were in. This led to true #iKasiOriginal content in locations ranging from Durban to the Drakensberg.
This content became about more than my situation. It increased my interaction with #iKasiOriginal survivors around the globe.
It also put me in contact with influencers from all walks of life who were inspired or touched by my story, and this led to features and retweets from people such as @itslisawelsh @marieclairesa @beautyrevolution_za and @pieterhowes.
Without family, this journey would have been a very bleak one. Through physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual breakdowns my family were my #iKasiOriginal through their love and support for me.
Sometimes my content is ruled by my emotions and when this happens @oros is that person who motivates me to be more positive. He is an #iKasiOriginal because he never lets my darkness change his opinion of me.
But who are my #iKasiOriginals? Every single person who has reacted, commented or shared my story, images or tweets. Without them, I would not been able to make it through this challenging journey or help others in similar situations.
So find the #iKasiOriginal in your life. Dig deep, evaluate and value those who make a difference in your life – be it physical, social or emotional – because the people who help us through life’s most challenging times are the true Champions of our success.
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