Yesterday was a good day for 35-year-old Gugulethu resident Lulama Maqungu as she received a much – needed wheelchair.
This will enable Ms Maqungu, who is blind and physically disabled, to be independent and move around more freely.
She was surprised to receive the gift from Deon Basson, a Democratic Alliance Proportional Representative councillor in Gugulethu who said he got to know about Ms Maqungu after a DA member mentioned her during a door-to-door campaign. Ms Maqungu received her wheelchair at her home yesterday, Wednesday March 13.
She had needed the wheelchair since 2014 when an illness had left her partially blind and unable to walk.
Ms Maqungu said the generous donation will make a huge difference in her life as she will now be more mobile around her home and in the community.
However, the family are still in need of a wheelchair ramp and toilet inside the two-roomed house, which Ms Maqungu shares with 14 other people, including her mother and siblings.
“I didn’t own a wheelchair before. I am truly over the moon because it will help me to move around. But it is going to be difficult for me until a ramp is built. The days of hiring transportation even if I am going to the shopping mall are over now,” she told Vukani.
She said life is difficult for her family because they are all unemployed.
Trying out her new wheels, she said it will take time for her to familiarise herself with it.
“The only difficult part for me now will be the toilet. I must go outside and far. If my mother, who is always helpful, is not here, it becomes difficult for me,” she said.
Mr Basson said when he was told about Ms Maqungu, he was touched.
“This has nothing to do with politics or campaigning for my party. The truth is the wheelchair will simplify her life in many aspects. I am very happy that we managed to put a smile on her face and that of the family,” he said.
He said the gift is to show that people with disabilities are not forgotten. Mr Basson said he was talking to the City about building a ramp for her. Ms Maqungu’s brother Daluxolo and the women who identified her, Ntombizodwa Maxengana, said they were excited that she finally has something to help her move around.
“When I saw her and heard her story, I was touched. I am happy that something has happened for her,” said Ms Maxengana.
But the struggle still continues for Ms Maqungu. Until she gets a bigger space to house her family, a ramp and a toilet, life will still be a challenge.