Becoming Keketso ‘Kay’ Ratsiane
My name is Keketso Ratsiane and I was born in 1985 in a township called Sebokeng, a mere ninety-minute drive from Johannesburg. I grew up in a very interesting time, as it was getting closer to the end of apartheid. Still, I remember things like my favorite uncle being taken away by the police. To this day we do not know what became of him.
My mom and dad were not married when they had me, which resulted in me living with my grandmother. During this time I was raped in the streets of zone 12. As a little boy, I did not realize what was happening to me. Even now as an adult, I can still remember the day it happened. I had a deep fear of older men and because of this I developed a stutter in my speech, which I still have to this day. I try to hide this speech impediment by covering it with humor and a sense of over-confidence.
My father was a very determined man. Even though he failed grade 8, he did excel at football and was a star in the township. To this day the people of Sebokeng still love and respect him and I find that carrying his name has some benefits. My dad was determined to get his family out of the township to provide a better life for us. In 1994 he moved us all to Pretoria where he worked for the city council. We lived in an apartment in the Pretoria CBD and dad made sure he found and placed me in a good school. This was an especially exciting time for me. At 9 years old I would walk by myself; secure in the confidence that I lived in the neighborhood with my dad. During this time I also had the privilege of watching Nelson Mandela’s inauguration live. I watched the planes as they flew over our apartment and onto the Union Buildings. I was there!
A year later, in 1995 my father moved our family into a house in Centurion – back then it was called Verwoerdburg Stad. We were the first black family in my neighborhood. I started attending a multicultural school and this was the first time I would ever interact with other white kids. Sadly I lost a year having to repeat grade 3 – this was because I had come from a black school and therefore had to do the grade over to ensure I was up to the standard. I suppose my entry interview didn’t help my case either. A white woman who was the interviewer and being unaware of my stutter – let’s just say it did not go well.
I was able to interact easily with all races and I started loving the way I was brought up. The fact that I had a stutter didn’t matter. I mean yes I couldn’t stand up and talk in front of a class, but I made friends easily and was elected class leader. I couldn’t focus on books. In fact I still struggle to this day. My teachers told me I was slow and that I wouldn’t amount to much. They told me that my stutter would hold me back and for many years I believed them. Words are a powerful tool and in the ears of a child their power is amplified. But like my father I was determined to prove them wrong. I didn’t have the best grades, wasn’t the best looking, but I just didn’t want to fail. I simply could not allow these people to be right about me.
Going into high school I had to find myself as a person. I excelled in sports. I was one of the fastest in my school and went on to represent South Africa. I played first team rugby and even played under 21 for the Blue Bulls. I started studying Sport Management and had great sporting dreams but sadly they never came true.
Disappointed and lost, I began to party hard. I drowned my pain in alcohol, in the high of every kind of drug and in temporary pleasures of sexual promiscuity. My addictive personality would ensure that even this destructive behavior was done good and proper.
At the age of 20, I found God and somehow found myself in God. And since I have an addictive personality, I became addicted to God. I made a decision to live a God conscious life. Saying yes to Jesus saved me from certain destruction. But on a different extreme, I became terribly judgmental of others. I thought I was better than them as a result of my loving God and the choices that came with that. I was being a Bible-bashing Christian and could not relate to others. I had to learn how to love people the way God loved me. The learning continues and I hope to eventually commit to full time ministry.
At 22 years old, I began to pursue success in the corporate world. A brief stint at Ernest & Young followed by a logistics position at the Eskom Leadership Institute and I had arrived. Dressed in fancy suits, driving around in fancy cars with way too much money in my wallet, I caught myself still playing Christian but in reality being far from God. I then became clinically depressed. I wanted life to end and attempted to end it many times. I was gaining the world and yet I was losing myself in the process. My previous lifestyle was also back and rampant and when I looked at my life again, I was ashamed of what I had become. But thankfully we never really become but rather are constantly becoming…
I walked away from the corporate world and lived without a job for four months. I lost my home and had to move back in with my folks. In fact I lost everything. But it did not matter as I felt like I was in a fight for my soul. The fight continues – depression is a process but thankfully you are not alone in that process.
Today I am a Producer. I never thought I’d be doing what I’m doing today.
I’m being creative, working on shoots, events and this project called “Becoming”.
I don’t have all the skills required to do what I do today, yet somehow God has favored me. I will never take for granted; who I am; where I am & who I’m becoming today.
I’m also studying at Bible College so I’m on a journey to finding my purpose and why I am still here today.
My life quote is: “If what you did yesterday still seems good – then today you have not done enough”. Yesterday is gone; learn from it. Prepare for tomorrow as it’s never promised. Live and love for today – it’s all you have…