Mental health advocate and former Miss South Africa Shudufhadzo Musida knows all about the importance of mental health. Bullied as a schoolgirl, she has developed the tools not only to manage her own mental health but also to inspire others on the same journey.
Shudu, as she is popularly known, is a guest speaker at this year’s Vastly Sage Uplifting Brunch, hosted by mentor and entrepreneur Amanda Dambuza. She says she will be sharing her story with the audience: “Storytelling is a reminder that we are not alone.”
Shudu is also the regional representative of UNFPA, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities – against the societal plagues of gender-based violence and cyberbullying. When her partnership with UNFPA was announced, Shudu said: “As a girl growing up in Ha-Masia village in the Vhembe District, I witnessed first-hand some of the struggles faced by many women and young people in under-developed regions across southern Africa,”
“Violence against women and girls can and does occur everywhere. I saw it in my village, and that’s why I say, we must end it in all its forms, wherever it takes place, whether online, in the intimacy of one’s home, or as a weapon of war. Women and girls must be empowered with rights and choices if they are to realise their full potential.”
Shudu said being bullied at school was an experience that shaped how she looked at herself. “When you grow up, you realise that what people say about you is not who you are.” She says mental health centres around resilience and taking care of yourself to ensure longevity in terms of health and your career are needed. “For example, the importance of rest should be non-negotiable – although we all know that’s easier said than done.”
Shudu is also the author of the children’s book I am Shudu: Finding my Voice, Knowing my Strength, which explores the themes of bullying, identity, bravery, forgiveness, displaced families and the bond of friendships. This coming-of-age story most importantly reminds us about the power of community and the magic we find when we use our voices.
- Launched first years ago, Vastly Sage by Amanda Dambuza started as a YouTube broadcast and has evolved into a movement to inspire, connect, empower, and change lives. YourLuxury Africa is the media partner of this year’s Vastly Sage Uplifting Brunch. To find out more, go to www.amandadambuza.com.