In January 2015 Miché Soloman, 17, began her last year of high school at Zwaanswyk High School in Cape Town. Shortly after her final year began, Miché heard about a new girl, Cassidy Nurse, attending the school with uncanny similarities to Miche.
Even though there was a 3 year age gap between the girls, Miche said it felt like there was an instant connection from the moment they met. That connection quickly turned into a close friendship.
When anyone asked Miché and Cassidy if they were sisters they would joke, “We don’t know—maybe in another life!”
One day Miche and Cassidy took a selfie together to show people their striking resemblance. In jest, some would ask Miche if she was sure she wasn’t adopted.
The girls showed their families the photo. Lavona, Miche’s mother, saw the photo and agreed the girls looked alike. However, when Cassidy’s parents, Celeste and Morne Nurse, saw the photo they were astonished and wanted to know if Miche was born on April 30, 1997.
“I said, ‘Why? Are you stalking me on Facebook?'” Miché said after Cassidy asked her.
After reassuring Miche that she and her family weren’t stalking her, they were just curious, Miche confirmed her birthday was, in fact, April 30, 1997.
A few weeks later Miche was unexpectedly called out of class to the headmaster’s office. When she arrived, Miche was surprised to meet two social workers who were waiting for her. They told her a story about a three-day-old baby girl called Zephany Nurse, who had been abducted from Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town 17 years previously and had never been found.
Miche listened, confused as to why they were telling her this story. Then the social workers explained that there was evidence to suggest that Miché could be the child who had been taken, all those years ago.
In disbelief, Miche attempted to settle any confusion by explaining to the social workers that she hadn’t been born at Groote Schuur Hospital. Her birth certificate said that she had been born at the Retreat Hospital, about 20 minutes’ drive away. However, the social workers replied that there was no record of her being born there.
Miche still didn’t believe them and felt like this was all just a terrible mistake. So Miché agreed to a DNA test.
“I had so much belief in the mother who raised me—she would never lie to me, especially about who I am and where I come from,” Miché said. “So my mind was made up that the DNA test was going to be negative.”
To Miche’s dismay, the results came back positive. She was, in fact, Zephany Nurse, the baby stolen from Groote Schuur Hospital all those years ago.
“I sat there in shock,” Miché says. “My life was out of control.”
The following effects of this new revelation left Miche traumatized.
Lanova, the woman she had known her whole life, was immediately arrested and her father, Michael, was taken in for questioning to decide if he had known or been apart of Lanova’s crime.
Miché said: “That broke me. I needed her. I needed to ask her, ‘Why? What’s going on?’ I was so overwhelmed that I belonged to someone else.”
It is thought Lavona concealed a miscarriage and then faked the rest of her pregnancy before stealing the baby, bringing the baby home and pretending she had given birth alone.
Lavona was tried and convicted receiving a 10-year sentence for kidnapping and fraudulently claiming to be the mother of a child. The police never found evidence that Michael Solomon had known that Miché had been taken from her biological parents without permission and he was released.
In the midst of the people she had known as her parents being tried, Miché also faced meeting her biological parents. However, she had very mixed emotions when she met them.
She said: “I was like, ‘Just go with it because it’s a shame for these people, they have been through a lot.’
“I felt nothing, I didn’t feel that I’d missed them.”
Desperate for answers about what happened to her Miché went to visit her mother in jail but her mother simply said, “One day, I will tell you.”
Despite everything, Miche says, ”Forgiving brings so much healing into your heart. Life must go on. She knows that I forgive her, and she knows that I still love her.”
After her 18th birthday, Miche gained the ability to choose where she wanted to live for herself. She chose to return to her dad Michael, feeling like that was her “safe space.”