Media maven Gaona Dintwe has almost two decades in the game, at the barely seasoned age of only 35. Having worked for both RB2 and BTV in an assortment of roles - TV presenter, talk show host and even presenting live from the SONA, she’s what one might call a Media Entrepreneur of note.
The host of Gaona Live graduated from Monash with a BA in Communications and Media Studies and over the course of her expansive career has been voted Most Popular Female Broadcaster in a BOCRA survey and been a BOMU recipient of the Best Electronic Journalist Award, but it’s her marriage and subsequent dissolution that many will remember her for.
During the course of what many felt would be a fairy tale union with her ex husband and former colleague Thobo Tlhasana, Gaona was hit with a devastating diagnosis - She had endometriosis.
Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis.
Usually, endometriosis causes painful periods and pain with deep penetration during sex. Since it can form scar tissue adhesions on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus, it is also a common cause of infertility in women. It also places a woman at a greater risk for ectopic pregnancy and ovarian cancer.
It’s been silently ravishing Black women for the last few years at an increasingly alarming rate and goes down right next to fibroids on the list of issues our gynaes are often on the lookout for.
“I was angry at God that I could not do the one thing a new bride does in her marriage, which is bearing children and growing a family with the man she loves,” she said during a talk she gave a few years ago, adding that they both made a conscious decision to go ahead with the marriage and prayed that her health would improve and she would bear a child.
Gaona shared that her marriage turned sour after it became evident that her condition may be permanent.
“For the longest time people believed I did not want to bear a child for my husband. So I had to come out and tell them about my medical condition and also to help other women and young girls out there who might have the same medical condition as mine,” she said adding that she had had the condition since she was 14. Coming out openly about her medical condition, Gaona said, was a decision she had discussed with her parents.
She said she wanted to come out about her illness in order to sensitize the public about the incurable disease that affects women’s fertility and standing in society.
Though the Gaona Live channel is a great place to find premium content and celebrity interviews it’s also become a platform for survivors of endo and other chronic illnesses to share their stories and gain support.
Through her tragedy Gaona has persevered and risen up to initiate a conversation many women are petrified to have because for so long, anything pertaining to our vaginal health has been taboo.
Because not many women have access to, or understanding of, procedures such as the pap smear, that help maintain their vaginal health, many diseases go undetected til it’s too late. As a result, excruciatingly painful periods and general womb discomfort are chalked up to, well, the growing pains of womanhood.
Using her platform, Gaona dispels myths pertaining to womanhood in a safe space and possibly helps save lives by drawing awareness to the fact that our health, as women, is expansive and pain is our body’s way of saying “Something’s wrong”.
Subscribe to her channel here to keep up with the conversations.