uniquely beautiful: a poem from south africa


Last week, I received the following email:

Hi Karen!
I'm Sanele from South Africa.I love your 'beauty of different' and chookooloonks blog.I wrote a piece 'uniquely beautiful' inspired by 'The beauty of different' book :)

Thought you'd love reading the piece.

She was right:  I did.  And so, with her permission, I thought I'd share it here with you.  Thanks Sanele!

Uniquely Beautiful

You’re a single mother raising one, two or more kids alone.

Somewhere amongst the 24hours you have received for today,

You have to juggle work, kids, other family, friends, meet deadlines,

Attend to children’s needs and yet still have time for yourself.

THAT is your story, what makes it unique is YOU.

Own it.


Little girl, you have your 15th birthday coming up next month.

You have homework, friends, mum and dad, siblings that all require a piece of you.

Somewhere inside of you is a young woman trying to break free.

Enough stresses already.

You’re precious, your story is unique.

Embrace it.


Hey 36 year old wife and mother of three.

Yours is yet another uniquely beautiful story.

Tell the world how you got to be where you are today.

Tell your children how much pain you went through to bring them into the world

And whilst you at it, don’t forget to mention the joy they’ve brought into

your life which in turn has made every sleepless night worth the while.

You’re a woman with a different story to tell.

Let your voice be heard.


I see you 21 year old; trying so hard to find your path in life.

Of course there is one for you!

Maybe you just need a little more time to figure it out

But I promise you, you will find it

A path that’s specifically and exclusively designed for you.

You are special

Chase those dreams, live out loud

The sound of your music is unique

Play it loud enough, get some of the world dancing.

Be heard.


72 year old, your eyes speak of so much wisdom acquired through the years.

The grey hairs are a sure sign YOU HAVE LIVED!

Your stories are a treasure that only experience could give you

Let the world know of the many paths you’ve trodden, for they’ve all

come together to knit out a different path for you.

Your story stands out.

There never will be another you.

In the story of YOU, you are the main character.

Own your story!


Baby girl, sister, girlfriend, wife, mother, aunt, and friend

You each have a unique story to tell.

From the things that consume half of our time, the laughs somewhere in between, a shared tear or two here and there, the smiles, quiet moments alone,

to the big and small triumphs all the way through to our beliefs, gifts and talents

are the things that make us all unique.


We each have a different story to tell.


The story is yours.

You make it count

Because of that one thing that makes you stand out, your story is unique.

Whatever it is that makes you, you.

Embrace it.

The story is yours and about you.

Own it!

~ Sanele Ndebele