- Itumeleng Sekhu survived a raging fire caused by a candle that fell on a mattress when she was only 11 months old.
- Despite the loss of limbs and severe scars, she reluctantly began to tell her story.
- Itumeleng is now an internationally accredited speaker, founded the Itumeleng Sekhu Foundation and owns a candle and wine company.
Itumeleng Sekhu’s life took an almost tragic turn when she was just 11 months old. The candle fell on her mattress, burning her badly. She lost an ear, her right hand and was left with one finger.
“My face is scarred and so is the right side of my body. I was bullied so much that I tried to commit suicide three times, but I failed,” she said.
Itumeleng said she became a bully herself.
“During that time I became a bully myself. After all, hurting people hurts other people, right?”
But it was a throw-in-the-deep moment that made Itumelenga step out with faith.
She was a content producer for Sbusiso Leope aka DJ Sbu on Metro FM in a show called ‘The Sound Revival’.
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“Later, Sbusiso appointed me as a project manager at the Sbusiso Leape Foundation. We went to schools to motivate students. This time he called me to tell his story to the students,” she said.
“I couldn’t believe he put me on the spot like that. Needless to say, I was scared and shaking because it was the first time I was sharing my story. I cried, I froze – it was horrible, but I finished telling my story and got a standing ovation.” .
The experience made the 34-year-old mother of three realize just how powerful her story was.
“The more I talked about it, the more I healed. Now I love to encourage and motivate people to reach their potential through my story,” she said.
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Her trauma from the fire also prompted Itumeleng to start her own candle business.
“I started my candle business because of my candle phobia. So to overcome my phobia, I went on YouTube and typed in ‘how to make candles’ and IS CANDLES SA was born,” she said.
Itumeleng has since written a book titled What Do You See?
She is also an internationally accredited speaker and established the Itumeleng Sekhu Foundation.
“My purpose is what wakes me up every day. In university, through my spiritual walk with Jesus Christ, I learned that my purpose is to bring hope and healing to people, because my scars are external. But everyone has scars inside, because at the end of the day we all have a story to tell. I believe we can only control what we do,” Itumeleng said.
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“Unfortunately, we can’t control how other people behave, so hold on to your power and live life to the fullest every day.”
But she did not stop there.
She also launched her own wine brand in September 2021.
“IS WINES has become such a blessing for us. We launched Premium Bushvine Pinotage and Premium Sweet Rosé last September and the reception has been absolutely amazing. Slogan: “Define what life is all about.”
“I wanted people to know that no matter what you’ve been through, you need to reevaluate what your life is and what it’s becoming. Never let circumstances do it for you,” she said.