“I was told that I was a miracle baby; both my parents and doctors were not sure that I would live long and it was only through the mercy of God that I lived,” says Mercy Senyatsi, a life orientation teacher at Dr. A.M.S Makunyane Secondary School in Polokwane, Limpopo. She’s put her miraculous life to great use.
Senyatsi comes from a family of teachers, which inspired her now 37-year long career, and her opening her home to students in need. Throughout her career Senyatsi says she has been touched by the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children. She is living up to her name, bringing mercy and hope into the lives of those who most desperately need it.
“Originally, I was inspired by my late parents who raised and tutored many children, irrespective of their family background,” she says.
Senyatsi currently has a young woman living with her; she’s been with her for the past six years, and in that time her grades have improved, along with her confidence. After throwing her young charge a 21st birthday party, covered in the local Polokwane Express, she received an invite to a Brand South Africa event – the Sowetan Dialogues – in which positive South Africans discuss how to move the country forward to prosperity.
At the event Senyatsi talked about what it takes to be part of the Rainbow Nation and being a responsible African and global citizen. For her commitment to helping children in need, she is now a Brand South Africa Play Your Part Ambassador.
Senyatsi says, “My initial decision to actually doing something about assisting the children in need came to me when I was teaching at Thagaetala High School. I had initially only looked out for the girl students. The two girls who I started out with were Josephine and Eunice, although Josephine went on to stay with a lovely neighbour of mine.”
The two children lived with both families throughout their schooling years; “They lived with us until they matriculated.”
After Eunice left, Senyatsi moved to Seshego, Polokwane, and transferred to Makunyane Secondary; but for the first few years here she did not take in any students, as she was “just getting settled and also adjusting to the new environment”.
“However”, she says, “I believe that if something is in you, it will always show, so yet again, I found myself being drawn to the young girls at school who seemed to be in need.
“As someone who is passionate about her profession, I have realised that these kids who are termed ‘problematic’ were actually crying out for help of some sort.
“Because I could not assist all of them, I chose the one whom I felt was most in need and that I could perhaps assist her condition by taking her in,” says Senyatsi.
Senyatsi certainly lives up to the values she holds dear; “I have espoused a philosophy that my house is not just mine alone, but a home for the destitute as well. I have housed several girls in my house over the years. Today, as we speak, they are better persons in our community.”
PLAY YOUR PART
Mercy Senyatsi is a Good Samaritan South Africans can easily emulate; to assist her with feeding and clothing her young charges, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.