All In The Same Boat

I met tannie Jules around the time I became well-known in Bloemfontein as a motivational speaker. She was a friend of my grandmother’s and they both lived in a retirement village just outside of Bloemfontein.

My grandmother quickly became friends with tannie Jules; conversations with her was engaging, interesting and never dull.

My grandmother had her first heart attack at the age of fifty and has been struggling with her health ever since, while tannie Jules has had perfect health up until now.

Tannie Jules lived in London for a long time and she speaks English fluently. She never married and doesn’t have any children.

My grandmother, on the other hand, got married twice. She has three children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Two retired women in their 70’s.

One married twice; the other one didn’t at all.

One has a wealth of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; the other one only has extended family.

One is healthy; the other one not.

Two different scenarios, and yet it’s like they’re both in the same boat now.

They’re both struggling financially.

My grandmother needs a caretaker 24/7; the bills are costly and by the hour.

Tannie Jules can barely afford to buy food every month; her pension is worth nothing in today’s economy.


After I moved back to Bloemfontein last year, I tried to do motivational talks again. I contacted over 25 schools, and only three of them responded and invited me to come. I asked a fee in the beginning but then eventually waivered that fee. I would focus on selling my books instead.

One afternoon I visited my grandmother, and tannie Jules also happened to be there.

‘I heard that you’re doing motivational talks again. How’s that going?’ she asked.

‘It’s going really slow. I’m do the talks for free now,’ I answered.

‘Oh but that’s great! I recently moved to another retirement village and we are having a fundraiser the end of this year. We need a guest speaker,’ tannie Jules explained.

‘That sounds great,’ I responded. I gave her my email address and asked that the organizer of the event contact me to arrange things.

I received an email within weeks, and soon the date was set: Saturday 04 October 2019 at Heuwelsig NG Gemeente.

In-between I ry to find work; I send in my CV to numerous places. But I am not getting a breakthrough, even with my motivational talks. I am now desperate for just a little income.

The organizer of the event contacts me again to confirm the date.

‘Do you have a fee?’ she asks per email.

I say, ‘Yes, I usually do. But I can lower my fee significantly, to adjust to the budget?’

She replies: ‘We have a musician who will be performing for us, for free. The only person getting paid is the soundman. Would you also consider doing your motivational talk for free?’

I say okay. I will do it for gratis.

And so I hope for the best regarding the selling of my ‘Viva la Vicki’ books – R100 per book.


The day finally arrives.

I am nervous because it’s been quite a while since I’ve spoken in front of an audience. And also, I have a brand new topic that I’m going to talk about.

On our way to the venue, I wonder out loud, ‘I wonder if they managed to sell the tickets? I forgot to ask the organizer.’
As soon as I’ve said it, my mom and I arrive at the venue and the parking lot is full of cars.

There is not a single parking spot available.

‘Now I’m really nervous,’ I say to my mom.

My mom prays for me, then drop me off at the entrance with my suitcase full of books. I wait for her to park the car and then we go inside.

The venue is already chock and block full.

Tannie Jules comes up to greet me. She is dressed in dark purple and looks lovely.

‘You look stunning!’ she tells me. ‘You know what? You only have to stand there on the stage. We can just look at you, and that would be enough.’

I tell her that it’s very sweet of her to say that.

We take a photo together. And then another one.


There are 20 tables in total; ten women sitting at each table. Each woman paid R150 to be there.

Every table has one woman who volunteered to decorate a table, make their own treaties and serve tea and coffee to the guests.

The lady at our table asks me, ‘You’ve probably been doing a lot of motivational talks?’

I tell her I’m going to be honest. I say, ‘No, actually. I haven’t been able to do a lot of motivational talks the last year. In 2009, when I won Miss Deaf SA, I was extremely busy. It is not so anymore.’

‘Oh,’ she says. She is genuinely surprised.

‘But now I have a job, working for my brother’s business,’ I add. Which is true.

‘That’s good,’ she replies.

Tannie Jules makes an appearance again, and tells me that she found a letter that I wrote to her a couple of years ago, thanking her for a poem she had written to me.

‘Oh my goodness, a poem?’ I reply. ‘I don’t remember tannie writing a poem for me.’

‘Yes, I wrote you a poem. And you responded with a beautiful thank you letter,’ she explained.

‘I always keep each and every letter that I receive. I must have it somewhere in my files and folders…’ I reply.

‘Yes, you will probably still have it.’

The event now begins.


In my motivational talk I share on what has happened in my life the last couple of years. I am honest, real and raw and I don’t hold back. I focus on the disappointments I have experienced – a broken relationship, broken dreams and a broken heart.

Every third woman in the audience starts crying.

I share with them the two keys to working through disappointments — surrendering (letting go of our ‘right’ to understand) and thankfulness (focusing on what we do have, not what we don’t have).

It is a time of healing, letting go of hurt and releasing peace and joy that is beyond our understanding.

My mom also ministers to the ladies – she does a mini SOZO. We can really feel God’s presence in the room.

The musician – also the soundman for the morning – is brilliant. His jokes are great, he is respectful towards the audience and he is also spiritually sound. His songs are powerful, timely and fits in with my topic that I spoke about.

All in all, an uplifting and encouraging morning.


The event is now coming to an end.

The organizer tells everyone that over 230 people contributed to this morning’s success.

The venue was given for free.

The use of the kitchen and its cutlery – free.

Each and every person contributed in every way that they could.

The money that has been raised is for three elderly ladies who are in the caring unit; they can’t afford to pay their medical costs.

I also notice that about 90% of the audience is older women. I can see that most of them live in the same retirement village as the three women who can’t afford to pay their bills.


Looking back, I realize that God has always provided for me.

When I was born, my parents provided for me. I never went to bed hungry; I always had enough. I had a warm bed and a roof over my head.

With my hearing aids, God provided through family and friends’ donations.

When I got my driver’s license, God provided a car for me through my parents’ gracious gifting.

When my laptop got stolen, God provided through helping me save up money to buy a brand new one with cash.

When I went to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in California for nine months, God provided with donations through business men in my church.

With both my cochlear implants, God provided through a hospital sponsorship and my medical/hospital plan.

I only sold 12 books in total at this event, but God had already provided for me by giving me a job at my brother’s business.


When we look to the future, we easily panic in fear.

What will happen?

Will I be able to look after myself?

But sometimes it helps to look into the past, and remember:

God has always provided.

He will provide again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

The event is over, and my mom and I leave. On the way out, a retired lady stops us and asks us to pray over her head.

‘I had a stroke recently,’ she says.

We pray for her, and we also pray for her friend.

When we get home, my mom and I sit together and eat our take-away food we bought on the way home.

‘Mom, one day I am going to have a farm. I might marry a farmer – he will most probably not be a South African – but he will have a farm and I will build you a cottage on this farm. I will look after you,’ I say to her.

I add: ‘I don’t know what the picture is going to look like, but I will do everything I can to make sure that you’re okay and that you’re looked after.’

‘Thank you, Vicki. I take that for myself,’ my mom replies.


You can listen to my motivational talk — in Afrikaans and 30 minutes in total HERE:

What does the Bible say about caring for the elderly?

This is according to

The elderly can be seen as burdens rather than blessings. Sometimes we are quick to forget the sacrifices our parents made for us when they are in need of care themselves. Instead of taking them into our homes—whenever that is safe and feasible—we put them in retirement communities or nursing homes, sometimes against their will. We may not value the wisdom they have acquired through living long lives, and we can discredit their advice as ‘outdated.’
When we honour and care for our parents, we are serving God as well.

‘The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God very much…. But those who won’t care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers.’ 1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8


On this website – – there’s a great conversation on answering the question ‘Should adults be responsible for their elderly parent’s care?’

47% says yes. 53% says no.

Read the fascinating debate here:


Lizi Qi is a phenomenal 29-year-old young woman who lives in the mountains of northwestern Pingwu, China. She was orphaned as a child and then went to on to live with her grandparents. At the age of 14, she dropped out of school and started working as a waitress, an electrician, and as a DJ at a nightclub.

In 2012, her grandmother had a serious illness. Lizi Qi returned to her hometown so that she could take care of her grandmother full-time.
In 2017, Lizi Qi became a new online celebrity in China and then worldwide through her YouTube videos. Her culinary chops include making peach blossom wine, watermelon cake, and traditional Sichuan moon treats, while a craft-based day sees her dying clothes in grape skins, making shoes for her grandmother, or building a wood-firing oven out of clay.

She is truly inspiring, and I love watching her videos.

Here is the one in which she makes shoes for her grandmother.

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