Bafikile Mpungose – There is always joy, no matter what

Seven years after breast cancer, Bafikile Mpungose is still finding joy every day of her life.


Bafikile Mpungose (50) lives in Gauteng. She is a widow and has two adult sons, Mpho and Thabiso. 

To the beautiful Bafikile, the joy in her life has remained the same even after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She attributes this to getting full support from her family. “I find my joy through spending time with my loved ones. Just because you have been diagnosed with cancer, doesn’t mean you must allow the disease to steal your joy. To me joy means happiness and appreciation of life and I still have life and happiness,” Bafikile explains.

Diagnosis and treatment

In 2013, Bafikile, who was 43 at the time, felt a lump in her right breast. She recalls sweating profusely, experiencing constant headaches, fatigue and being itchy all over her body. 

It was her late husband who prompted her to go for a check-up. After all the diagnostic tests, it was confirmed that the 43-year-old had a 2cm tumour in her right breast as well as a smaller one in her left breast. 

Naturally, the mother was scared but says, “You need to be firm with yourself as well as cool, calm and collected.” And so, she braved her breast cancer treatment which consisted of six months of chemotherapy; a double mastectomy with reconstruction at a later stage; and tamoxifen which she still takes. 

Mpho, Bafikile’s oldest son made a valiant decison of putting his studies on hold and left university to care for his mom while she underwent treatment.

Bafikile also made a bold decision and resigned from her job, as a school teacher, and made her health her priority. 

She suffered the usual side effects of chemotherapy but pushed through with her family by her side. “My sons come first in my life so me fighting this cancer was for them. They have been so strong for me so I had to be stronger for them and fight this disease. Plus, my late husband…he has made me who I’m today. 

I couldn’t have gotten through this without him.” Sadly, Bafikile’s husband passed away two years ago.

Living to the fullest

In 2016, Bafikile started to work again. “My job is also a source of joy. I enjoy teaching, knowing I’m playing a part in giving learners an education. My job gives me purpose, and to live a full life, we all need purpose.”

She goes on to say, “I’m still the happy, fun-loving person I was before breast cancer. Even when my husband passed away, I knew I couldn’t live with anger, it would just steal my joy. I live my life to the fullest despite the disease I was diagnosed with and the loss of my dear husband.” 

“To me joy means happiness and appreciation of life and I still have life and happiness.”

Laurelle Williams is the editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Write to the editor@buddiesforlife.co.za

MEET OUR EDITOR – Laurelle Williams

Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. [email protected]


Images by Zahira Amod | Instagram @glamfuel[email protected]

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