Submitted by: Kholeka Mtolo   

An update to the original story posted further down.

“I found her…I’m crying tears of joy.  Thank you all.”

#ImStaying helped reunite a mother and daughter after 15 years!  Kholeka Mtolo had been separated from her mother, Sharon Nortier.  Sharon’s brother saw Kholeka’s post on #ImStaying, contacted Sharon, and voila!  The two are reunited.


For those who missed the update…I have found Sharon.  Her brother saw the post and sent her the link.  And Willie was helping me search for her and voila…we are reconnected…thank you so much to this group, you have no idea how happy I am.  I’m chatting to her on WhatsApp as we speak.  I am sorry I cannot reply on every comment, I am travelling to the Free State now and just want to doze off for a bit.  I have got classes tomorrow…again.  THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH.

Sharon Nortier (Kholeka’s Mom):  Hello Kholeka.  Wow, here I am.  You found me.  Can’t believe after all these years.  Please send me your phone number so I can phone you.

Original Story:

Hello family.  When I was growing up I had two mothers. My biological mother, who was a domestic worker, and my mother’s employer, who never had any children of her own.

My mother was a stay-in maid in Durban North.  I would go and stay with my mother at her workplace during school holidays until, when I was age 10, mom’s employer could not bear to see me suffer having to stay with relatives anymore.  She took me in and enrolled me into the nearest primary school.  One of the ‘white’ primary schools could not take me because I was black and did not speak a word in English (coming from the village) – well most schools in Durban North would not take me.

That woman was my everything! 

Until one day my mom’s employer got so angry at what was going on and took me to a primary school herself, where her best friend was the principal.  Finally, I got accepted.

To cut a long story short, that woman was my everything!  She treated me like her own child and paid for everything that I needed.  She would take me shopping every Saturday and we would plant flowers in ‘our’ garden etc.  She loved me like her own daughter, she taught me that although she was white and I was a black child, it meant ABSOLUTELY nothing!  I was her baby and she my white mom.

She pretty much raised me until I could not speak proper Zulu anymore, LOL! and my biological mom whacked me and said “I do not care if you think you are white, if you fart strawberry flavour, you will not forget your language”. See, we were not allowed to speak Zulu at all in the house, because I needed to learn how to speak and converse in English as I went to an English-speaking school.

She took me to a Catholic boarding girls’ high school.  She then left South Africa when I finished matric because she had marital problems and got divorced.  What I had not realized was that she had problems long before I started high school.  She held on…for my sake, so I could finish school before she divorced her husband who played the role of my dad.

I’ve been looking for her since 2012.  Her name is Sharon Walsh.  I am still looking for her.  My life is incomplete without her.  I have kids now that I want her to meet.  I dream about her frequently.  That woman made me. I hope she is still alive wherever she is.

“We never lacked ANYTHING.”

With a follow up interview with Kholeka, she explained, “We were separated from 2004.  Just after the school closed for December.  I was doing grade 12 then…I kept in touch via calls for a while after that and then lost contact for good.  Both my biological mother and I have been looking for her since 2006.”

“Sharon bought my mother a house, which my biological mother still stays in today.  My kids stay in the same house with my mother that Sharon bought for her.  We never lacked ANYTHING.  She would bring groceries for my mother after my biological mother moved into the house.  Whilst she paid for my fees in a Catholic girls boarding school.”

This is me and my eldest son (13) who is autistic, he still thinks he is five years old.  He is a loving boy but plays alone and lives in his own little world that he created in his head.  He goes to a special school.  My daughter is ten and is a diva.  She tells me what to wear and tells me to my face if I look ugly – LOL!  And my last born son who is 7.”

“I am raising them alone because their father died in 2016.  Sometimes it gets hard, but I hustle to provide for them.  I always tell them about Sharon, and they ask to meet her, especially when things get rough for me, but they are lovely children.  They NEVER complain when I cannot afford certain things for them as I am self-employed and go for months with no business and no income.  But they are always grateful for what I can provide for them, when I can.”

If she did it as a woman, then I can do it too.

“I am an author as well and have a page on Facebook where I write my fictional stories.  Some lady saw my work (writing) and asked if she could publish the two books that I have written on my page.  They are currently being published and will be available on the website called Visionary Writings.  Then I can make money from them.”

I have been self-employed since 2015 doing health and safety, first aid, and fire-fighting training for companies, colleges, and universities etc.  I learnt from Sharon to be independent and be my own woman when she used to take me to her office to do paperwork and filing for her during school holidays when I started high school.

She owned her own insurance company and was quite successful at it.  She might not know how much courage she gave me as a young black woman.  She still probably does not know that I am following in her footsteps.  My biological mother would always compare my strong will to Sharon’s.  When things get tough, I keep pushing on.  I am not at her level yet, I still struggle quite a lot, but I am getting there. If she did it as a woman, then I can do it too.