Too much of a lady for her abuser
IT is difficult to imagine that the confident, easy-going Nonhle Ndala was once physically and emotional abused by her ex-hubby.
It's also incredible that the radiant and lithe athlete was once a plump teenager with battered self-esteem, thanks to school bullies who envied her privileged background.
But the 29-year-old Heidelberg-born beauty has turned her life around, refusing to allow her destiny to be defined by her cruel past.
As the Face of Fitness ambassador, she champions a healthy lifestyle and keeping in shape by doing regular workouts in the gym. She is the winner of last year's Body Beautiful SA and Face of Fitness, both sponsored by sports nutrition giants USN.
Raised in a comfortable home that could be described as middle-class, she says her teenage years were marred by emotional trauma.
"I was brought up by my grandmother, a loving but strict disciplinarian who instilled in me moral values, respect for other people's cultures and discipline. She was in essence my mother, but I yearned for the love of my biological mother who, unfortunately, was not living with us. She visited me only occasionally."
At 17 she found love in a man who was seven years her senior. A year later she became his wife and a mom.
"But as I grew older and became more confident and assertive, he resented that. He felt I was challenging his authority as the head of the family.
"Then the abuse started. But whenever he hit me I reported the matter to the police," she says.
She eventually filed for a divorce.
The courts decided on joint custody for their daughter.
But two months ago he allegedly savagely assaulted her in front of her daughter after she dropped her at his house.
Olifantsfontein police confirm that Ndala opened a case of domestic abuse. She says she has also obtained a protection order against her ex.
"Women must not suffer in silence. They need to know that marriage is about mutual respect and a partnership that involves two people growing together ... my ex-husband refused to acknowledge that I was no longer the teenager who used to agree with him on every matter," she says.