KANYAMAZANE – Having a child with a disability may be a thorn in the flesh, but for Winnie Mdluli – a mother of a 12-year-old bedridden, epileptic son – she won’t exchange him for anything.
Mdluli explains that Siyabonga was born healthy but things changed. “He was born normal like any other child and his condition only changed when he was three months old. I will never forget that day when I was called to go home immediately because Siya was unconscious,” Mdluli recalled.
“I found him lying on the bed, quietly so. We rushed him to the hospital and he only regained consciousness the following day. That was when my son’s condition changed.
“His spinal cord is not straight; this becomes more visible as he grows, yet the hospital never explained to me what the problem was,” she adds.
Through the years, Mdluli has learned to accept her son’s condition. “I believe God will never give me a situation beyond my powers and capabilities.
“I have accepted him as he is. We have this bond between us.
Her son lives on a special diet, including soft porridge, mixed vegetables mashed with either potatoes or pumpkin, and juice.
“I cannot even take him to KaMagugu Inclusive School because he cannot do anything for himself.
“When I am at work, I make sure to constantly look at my phone for any messages or missed calls from home because with a child like this, you never know what will happen next,” she adds.
Apart from her son’s condition, Mdluli has no proper home of her own. She rents a one-room structure which she shares with her three children, including Siya’s sisters, aged 21 and 18, and a grandchild.
“My only worry is where I will leave my children when death strikes, because my attempts to get an RDP house have failed,” she says.
When she is not working, Mdluli spends quality time with her son, either pushing him on his special wheelchair to KaNyamazane Complex or to church.
Her daily needs for her son include special pampers or nappies. “I cannot use the ones given too us by the clinic, his skin is sensitive so I have to buy high-quality pampers every month,” she adds.
Mdluli and her son made headlines earlier this year. She could not get access to her child’s maintenance funds which had been delayed by the maintenance courts.
Mdluli told Mpumalanga News of how she struggled to deal with the Nsikazi magistrate and the family advocate of the Master of the High Court in Mbombela after an agreement to receive R40 000 from the retirement fund of the biological father was reached.
“I last received my child maintenance of R600 in February last year. I then went through the court processes to have his father support him, mostly because he is a disabled child and I can’t do everything on my own,” she said