Proteas of the Valley 2022: Mercia Moses

Mercia Moses has a heart for helping young people. She is a shepherd at Salt and Light Kids, where she teaches the gospel of Christ to young children. And she is also a coordinator at education consultancy Change within Development and a pastor at Ephphatha Ministry.

Mercia had a traumatic upbringing, but she rose above it and now helps others who experience the same difficulties she once did.

Born and raised in Paarl East, one of her earliest memories was of her mother moving her and her siblings around because they did not have a place to call home. They eventually got accommodation at Magnolia Flats in Paarl, and her father came to live with them. But, her father lost his job and started selling drugs from their home—this opened their world up to danger.

“Our lives took a turn for the worst. I never felt safe in my own home, and gangsterism and drugs became part of my life. There were always strangers moving through the house, and I did not feel safe,” Mercia said.

When Mercia was 17, someone walked into their home and murdered her father. The cycle of drug dealing in her family continued with her brothers when they also joined gangs and started doing drugs. But, despite her family’s difficulties, Mercia said her mother taught her how to love people. “I would watch her give food to the hungry and homeless, and instead of being scared, I started taking care of my brothers and the young boys recruited to gangs.”

Today, Mercia still invites young people into her home to serve them food.

“The hardships I went through have moulded me into the person I am today. I relate better to people and understand that some people are on the streets because of unavoidable circumstances. I was able to build a better life for myself, but not everyone is as blessed. I will continue to treat everyone with respect and love.”

Her advice to women this Women’s Month is to speak up.

“Whatever you are going through, speak up. You would be surprised at how many people can assist you. You are a jewel, and you deserve happiness.”