Community steps in to help Mamkoena, 91

Mammiki Monatsi sitting relaxed at her home. She recieved a wheelchair from Good Samaritans.

Christmas came early for 91-year-old Samora Machel resident, Mammiki Monatsi, who struggles to walk because of her age, when she received a wheelchair from the Institute of Contemporary Research Africa, in partnership with local community leader Monwabisi Mbaliswana.

Ms Monatsi, who for several years could not move outside of the house, finally began to move around on Saturday November 26.

The family said they had not been able to afford to buy her a new wheelchair, after the old one was damaged.

Ms Monatsi’s plight was discovered by Andile Dube, a local leader who spread the word to his friend Mr Mbaliswana. Ms Monatsi shares her RDP house with her youngest child, Cinderella, and grandchildren.

Her suffering immediately sprung Mr Mbaliswana into action. He met up with the institute to donate the wheelchair and groceries to the family. “We owe it to elderly people because we are where we are today because of them. This is a good initiative that we need to take forward. As business people and leaders we should look after our seniors. I am grateful I still have my mother who taught me to look after other people. We want Mamkoena (Ms Monatsi) to be able to move around, to be able to bask in the sun like others and do her chores,” he said.

A small crowd of family, neighbours and friends gathered at her home to celebrate. They sang and danced in congratulating her.

Mr Mbaliswana said they had also delivered groceries. “Because it is now Christmas time and many people will enjoy good meals, we felt a need to speak to businesspeople around here to donate food. We also have individuals like Xolani Joja who took money from their pockets for a good cause. We are grateful to all of them. We are also grateful to the Methodist Church of Southern African for allowing us to come and pray for her and her family,” he said. Mr Mbaliswana described the initiative as a sign of a caring society. He said he was excited to have generous friends and family members. Ms Monatsi daughter and her grandchildren expressed their gratitude. An ecstatic Cinderella said she felt blessed.

“The smile on her face tells it all. It has been a difficult time for her and all of us. It has been a struggle to move her around. I was in a process of buying a wheelchair but it was tough. Financially I was struggling. These people have made our life easy. We are really thankful to them,” she said.

Mr Dube said he is not far from Ms Monatsi’s house and every time he passed the house he would notice there was a problem, until he approached the family.

He also expressed gratitude to his friends and family.

“This is an emotional day for me. What makes me more happy is the fact that I am celebrating my wedding anniversary. But instead of partying I give back. Thanks to my wife for allowing that,” he said.

Mr Joja called on people to assist the elderly persons and other struggling families this Christmas. He said instead of spending money on parties, people must be more generous to those less fortunate.