Being a victim of bullying leaves deep emotional scars and, with back to school fever in the air, actress Buhle Samuels has reflected on the hardest days of her school life.
She told TshisaLIVE she was bullied at school because she did not speak Zulu.
“How it started was that people thought I was a black American because I spoke English, but I wasn’t. I just didn’t know how to speak Zulu because of the school I attended. I struggled with vernacular.”
The former Muvhango actress initially had no idea what to do, or who to confide in, until she realised she couldn’t let the bullying continue into high school.
“Those were the hardest days of my schooling life. I decided to stand up for myself the next time they tried, which was in high school. I was very strong and wouldn’t allow any bullying near me.
“One day during my first year at high school I stood firm and told the tormentors where to get off. Ever since that day I never allowed such behaviour.”
She said wished she could have received help earlier, and encouraged young people to ask for help sooner rather than later.
“We have to start by educating anti-bullying from an early learning level. Some of the children are influenced by different backgrounds, like domestic violence back at their homes, and this can result in a bully.”
Buhle has also been a victim of body shaming, especially on social media, but said being cyber-bullied was like water off a duck’s back after her experience at school.
“I just smile and move on whenever I feel adult bullying in my space. It is a popular norm on social media, but I am a survivor of such and I know how to handle it.”
You go, girl!