New Beginnings: How I survived a life on the streets of Cape Town & Jozi

Growing up in Cape Town, Grizelda Grootboom had a very rough upbringing.

She shares the journey of her life as a child living on the streets of Cape Town with Pippa Hudson. She experienced everything from human trafficking and sex slavery to a life of prostitution and drug addiction.

At the age of 9 Grizelda was gang raped by a group of boys in Khayelitsha side C where her mother was living. She says she was surprised when no one from the community came to her rescue or tried to help her.

I just knew from that point that I will not get help form anyone in life from this side of the world. So it was time to go

Grizelda Grootboom, Author

Listen to the full conversation below:

I was shocked at the kind of reaction I got from women in that community just because I couldn’t speak the language

Grizelda Grootboom, Author

Grizelda also shared her experiences in the streets and what she did daily in order to survive.

You have to look over your shoulder at all times, not only as child but also as a young girl

Grizelda Grootboom, Author

I started by stealing and standing at the robots, doing what other street kids were doing.

Grizelda Grootboom, Author

Whatever I had, I couldn’t use it on myself because I was trying to get into this community of the street kids. I had to communicate by sharing with them.

Grizelda Grootboom, Author

And when I did that, that’s when loyalty and trust took place and that’s when they’d let me in

Grizelda Grootboom, Author

Grizelda’s story is also a story of hope, and of finding a way out of that life.

Today, Grizelda is the author of a new book called Exit, where she tells her story of all the hardships she has endured in life.

She also works with the NGO Embrace Dignity which is committed to addressing the root causes of prostitution, and to supporting women who want to escape a life of prostitution.


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