Monique Strydom is known as one of the 21 hostages who was held hostage by Abu Sayyaf rebels for 127 days in the jungle on the Philippine island of Jolo in 2000.
Their group was in the hands of murderous terrorists, under continuous attack by the military, had to run for their lives through unforgiving territory, had very little food and water and were subject to many other dangers.
The fact that not one of the hostages was killed is seen as a miracle. For Monique, her experience on Jolo was an extraordinary, life-changing one. She made a decision to stay positive and draw lessons from her adversity.
On her return Monique decided to dedicate her life to the people of South Africa, to thank South Africans for their support and love and as a way of returning this kindness. She closed down her own business and set up the Strydom Charity Trust and in 2002, Matla a Bana (A voice against child abuse). During the last 16 years she has become known as a philanthropist who has helped thousands of people in need.
Monique is the recipient of the numerous awards including the prestigious Newsmaker of the Year Award and The White Ribbon Award. She recently received the Paul Harris Award for her charity work. She has been nominated as one of the Greatest Women of the Century by the American Biographical Institute.
In 2008 the National Geographic Channel made a documentary about their ordeal and this is currently on air world wide.
The first book on this ordeal, Shooting the Moon, was a best seller. In 2015, Monique wrote Vrygekoop - which bears testimony to the miracles the hostages witnessed during their captivity. Today she is still one of South Africa's popular inspirational speakers.
Monique Strydom also hosted her own TV shows - Footprints and Monique on DSTV. She also shared her love for travel on the Radio Tygerber radio travel show Tasse en Matrasse.
This ordeal has not put her off travel! Her latest life changing experience was walking a section of the Camino Pilgrimage to raise awareness of the plight of abused children in South Africa.
She hopes to inspire all to -
Never Never Never