WARNING: This podcast contains a brief description of rape and kidnapping.
At one point in her life, Bridget Makhonza had everything.
She was in a loving relationship selling men's clothing from her home to a job in a multinational, billion-dollar business.
Inspired by young black geologists, she was determined to work her way up the corporate ladder.
Bridget's dreams finally seemed to be within reach.
Fast Forward 19 years and Bridget says, "I told my son that you want to retire at 55. I'm 47, oh my, I'm not."
Her life has changed irrevocably on a Saturday in 2000.
Determined Not to After being raped, Bridget put all her strength to ward off a possible rapist after a house party. With a blunt weapon she attacked the man and protected herself and her partner.
Although neither Bridget nor her attacker filed a complaint, Bridget was arrested for a robbery she did not commit.
Bridget was wrongly convicted in 2002 and sentenced to ten years in prison for robbery in 2003.
She spent a total of 3 years and 3 months in Sun City Jail in Johannesburg. And although she was released from prison nearly 14 years ago, Bridget has trouble rebuilding her life.
She is currently working as an ad hoc trainer, but there have been few meetings.
Her passion for empowering people in her community has not diminished.
Bridget is determined to write a book documenting her extraordinary life.
She hopes that it will inspire others to overcome their personal struggles.
Bridget Makhonza lost three years and three months of her life when a crime she had not committed was pinned to her. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)
Bridget and her father have an indestructible bond. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)
The 30-year-old son of Bridget Xolani works as a Taxify driver. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)