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Project Hope Podcast

Jennifer French



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S2 Ep. 11: Erika Bornman (P1) on her life, advocacy work, & memoir, "Mission of Malice. My Exodus from KwaSizabantu."

When Erika Bornman was nine years old, her family joined and ultimately moved to, KwaSizabantu, a Christian mission in South Africa—a place touted as a multiracial nirvana, founded on egalitarian values. But life at KwaSizabantu was hard, especially because Christianity was used to justify harsh punishments and physical abuse. KwaSizabantu exerted emotional, psychological, and sexual control over her, until, finally, she escaped at the age of 21. Escaping a restrictive religious community is difficult, but rehabilitation into ‘normal’ life after a decade of ritual humiliation, brainwashing, and abuse was much more painful. Erika could not ignore her knowledge of the grievous human-rights abuses being committed at KwaSizabantu, and so she embarked on a quest to expose the atrocities. With her help, News24 launched a seven-month investigation, culminating in a podcast that would go on to win the internationally renowned One World Media Award for Radio and Podcast in 2021. In Mission of Malice: My Exodus from KwaSizabantu, Erika chronicles her journey from a fearful young girl to a fierce activist determined to do whatever it takes to save future generations and find personal redemption and self-acceptance. Erika has also carved a career for herself in magazine publishing as a writer and editor. Mission of Malice, her memoir, is her first book and an important element in her quest to make the world a safer place for children. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her two cats. This podcast contains explicit content as well as sexual abuse and child abuse trigger warning. Click here for Erika’s book: Mission of Malice: My Exodus from KwaSizabantu, Click here for the News24 seven month investigation Click here for the award winning podcast produced by News24 Click here for the YouTube video of Erika’s niece Click here for information on the Cult & Religious Recovery Group Program that begins April 2023. Our podcast features a beautiful song by Jaia Suri called, “Leaving the Cult”. Subscribe to Jaia Suri on Spotify and access the song here. If you feel moved to support Jaia’s music, please join her at Patreon. Jennifer is a cult and religious recovery counselor. She is certified in a specialized approach working with survivors that is research based and rooted in the work of Dr. Gillie Jenkinson. She has a Masters in the Psychology of Coercive Control and functions as an expert witness in such cases. Jennifer is also a research associate at Salford University.  For more information, please visit her website, Follow Jennifer on social media at: Facebook Instagram YouTube If you would like to be on the Project Hope Podcast or have any inquiries regarding the show, please email,

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