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Deborah Ho-Chung’s life has been filled with tremendous adversity, cruelty and abuse as well as a spell of self-destructive behaviour and a few bad choices. By all accounts she should have been crushed by the external events of her life. She could have rolled over and played dead but instead, she imposed on life her strength and determination and has refused to be just another victim of circumstances.

Deborah’s story is one that offers hope to those who find themselves in seemingly desperate situations and leaves others feeling exhilarated when they realize just how powerful and resilient the human spirit is.

Deborah was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1959 to a so called “coloured” mother and a white father. The Immorality Act of South Africa however made it illegal for her parents to live together under the same roof. Eventually after three years of harassment from the police, Deborah’s mother moved back to Natal to live with her relatives.

At the age of six Deborah was raped by a teenage neighbour. Her grandmother then decided that her mother was not doing a good job of taking care of her and so, at the tender age of eight, Deborah was sent off to go and live with a married aunt who was unable to have any children of her own. The move turned out to be a jump from the frying pan into the fire. The circumstances at her new home turned out to be even less ideal for the young child when her aunt’s husband started sexually abusing her when she was only 9 years old. This continued until Deborah, at the age of 16, finally decided to stand up to him by threatening to kill him in his sleep if he ever touched her again. The sexual abuse stopped, but her uncle became emotionally and verbally abusive until Deborah eventually “ran” away from home while still at university when she was 21 years old. Yet this was not to be the end of the dreadful situations she would find herself in, for many years to come. The battle to pull herself out of the hopeless situation would continue.

While growing up, Deborah’s hybrid ethnicity has afforded her the rare opportunity of experiencing life on both sides of the colour divide in South Africa. Her grandmother was a first generation descendant of a Zulu mother and a German father. Deborah’s father was Irish but she ended up having a Chinese surname – that’s another long story. Her mother tongue is English but she grew up in an Afrikaans speaking coloured community — with a background like that Deborah is truly representative of the so called “Rainbow Nation” of South Africa.

Deborah’s determination to be all she is meant to be drives her to continue on a journey of self-discovery and self-actualization. She has discovered that pain and adversity are great teachers but most importantly she has learnt that the solutions to the challenges we face in life lie within us.

By focusing on her passions and using her gifts while drawing from her life experiences, Deborah aims to help others reach within themselves to make a difference to their own lives.

Her motto in life is...


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