UFH student shares her story of overcoming loss, poverty, sexual abuse and hopelessness in her first published book: The Tree of Life- An Anthology

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Anathi Kom, a 19-year-old UFH second-year BSC in Agriculture (Animal Science) student has penned a book detailing how she dealt with the pain of loss, poverty, sexual abuse, hopelessness and her struggle to forgive and let go.

Titled: The Tree of Life – An Anthology – the book is a collection of 44 poems. This is her third book but the first one to be published, the two other books she wrote are titled: Broken Rose and Dear Self

Kom who hails from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape suffered a significant loss when her mother passed away when she was just eight years old. “My sister and I were left to be raised by our grandmother who provided, nurtured and cared for me immensely in my life journey. I am because of her and I am nothing without her.”

One of her poems titled: “Too sudden you left” is dedicated to her late mother where she expresses her longing and her wish for her mother to be still alive.

Sadly, her pain did not end with the loss of her mother. In her 19 years of existence, Kom says she has dealt with so many obstacles, including sexual abuse.  “As a result of the abuse, I fell pregnant and became a mother.”

Kom discovered her gift of expressive writing while she was in Grade 10 in Lamplough Senior Secondary School and began her road to healing using words.

“Writing has helped me to keep going despite the odds life stacked against me. It has also helped me escape some life realities and discover myself. Through writing, I have learned to forgive, to move on and accept things I cannot change, so that I don’t inflict pain onto my daughter.”

In her first book Broken Rose, she shares her journey of healing, while her second book Dear Self is a self-reflection book and a short story titled: My parents failed me.

Tree of Life was published on the 30th of May by Publish’d Afrika publishing company that is sponsoring Kom’s book. The co-founder of the publisher, Sukoluhle Nontokozo said: “Although we are a self-publishing agency, I couldn’t let such body of work gather dust or go to waste”. Kom will be Publish’d Afrika’s 51st author.

“I am grateful to the UFH Student Development Office for paying the printing expenses and Mr Mfundo Scott from the UFH ICT Department for assisting with securing me a laptop,” said Kom.

She hopes her book will inspire, empower and impart hope regardless of the challenges, speed humps, and potholes life throws at us.