Coping against all odds
I visited Mrs Lamfithi at Lalini Location in the Eastern Cape to share the story of her grandson, Simamkele Mjada (18). “My daughter, Pumla Mjada, noticed that there was something wrong with her five month old son (Simamkele) when he had trouble sitting up. We took him to the to Frontier Hospital in Queenstown, where an Orthopeadic doctor told us that he was disabled.
During this time, I married my husband and I moved into a new home with my in-laws and left my daughter and Simamkele with my mother. Sadly, when my grandson was two and a half years old, his mother passed away and his great- grandmother took care of him. “Soon after, my husband and I decided it would be better for Simamkele to come and live with us,” says Mrs. Lamfithi. Concerned about his wellbeing, they took Simamkele to a Cape Town Hospital, where the doctors found told them that he was also mentally challenged. He had problems with his speech as well but they believed that this would improve over time. Mrs Lamfithi currently works at St. Marks Clinic as a fieldworker and her husband is also employed full-time. When they leave for work they make sure that they leave Simamkele with everything he needs for the day (food, water, etc.) in one place where it is accessible for him. “It is impossible for me to find a care-giver or someone that can assist Simamkele, because I do not earn enough to pay their salary. His disability grant does not cover very much. I wanted him to attend school and to go to physiotherapy, but it is very difficult. Whenever he has to go to the hospital for his check ups, I have to spend a lot of money and hire a car, as the local taxi drivers don’t care about the special needs of the disabled. He desperately needs a powered wheelchair for some independence. He is such a brilliant boy, who loves watching soccer and I just want what is best for him,” she states.