Zephany Nurse, raised as Miché Solomon after being snatched from Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997, says she knows the convicted kidnapper, who raised her, had indeed removed her from her biological mother’s arms.
Nevertheless, she still sees Levona and Michael Solomon as her parents.
“I know she took me,” Solomon said in an interview on CapeTalk on Thursday about Zephany, a book that tells her story.
“I know it’s wrong what Levona did. I want to make it clear that I am not justifying that it’s OK if I lost my babies or had a miscarriage to go [take someone else’s] baby.”
In 2016, Levona was sentenced to 10 years in jail for the kidnapping. This despite maintaining that she got the baby from a woman called Sylvia who had been giving her fertility treatment in 1997 after she had miscarried.
The baby had, according to her, been given to her at Wynberg train station without her prior knowledge.
Solomon said in the letters she had written to her “mommy” in prison, she told her that if she had indeed committed the crime for which she was convicted, “I don’t care; I still love you”.
“I had my share of anger and resentment and pain toward her. And then I would tell her … it’s not going to change anything, but it would bring some closure to me to actually know what happened that day because, mommy, there is no evidence of Sylvia. I am forced to believe the evidence that there is.”
She refers to Levona and Michael as “my mom and daddy”, and to her biological parents as Celeste and Morné.
“A lot of people say, ‘you need to go back to your parents, and you need to give them a chance’. Well, chances were given,” Solomon said.
“There were boundaries that were crossed. There are reasons to why there was space put between us. It’s not like I didn’t want to get to know them. There were many chances.”
Celeste had dreamed she was pregnant with her first child, Solomon said, adding they had developed a better relationship than the one they had prior to that period.
“That’s where I could see I could start trusting her. Because there was that lack in my life, and that was a mother that I needed.
“But then something happened. It’s in the book. It’s something personal and that broke a lot. It kept happening.”
Her biological mother was not reliable, she said.
“There were a lot of issues that were going on that put a lot of strain on our relationship. I don’t want to badmouth her but there are certain things … it’s not normal for a mom to … I am not saying she is a bad mother.”
She was raised in a home where her mother wore the pants, Solomon said.
She added Levona was a strong person and helped her find the strength to deal with what transpired after it was confirmed that she was missing Baby Zephany.
Levona was arrested in February 2015 after the then-teenager’s true identity came to light when the girl’s biological sister, Cassidy who is four years younger, told her parents that a girl in matric at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.
Before DNA tests confirmed she was indeed Zephany, Solomon said she had asked to see a photo of the kidnapped baby and was certain that it did not look like her.
Solomon was sent to a place of safety after her kidnapper’s arrest. She, however, opted to move back to the home in which she had lived with Levona and Michael.
She described the man who raised her as “my hero”. Morné, she said, was “different” and in some situations she wished he would be sensitive and understanding like Michael was.
She and Celeste might never have the relationship her biological mother dreamed they would have, Solomon said.
“I am not saying that I am closing the door to that. I am not saying that it’s impossible for us because I am leaving the door open. There are just things that we’re struggling with. I’m not shutting the door. That was my thought in the beginning – I want nothing to do [with them] but there are reasons for that.
“I accept she is my mom. We had our intimate conversations; there was a time that we really bonded. That’s why there was so much anger from me, so much distance from me because of that trust I had built and then it’s broken once again.”
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