Health-e (Cape Town)

South Africa: Three Months and Orphaned

At just three-months-old, a boy from Mabila village in Limpopo lost both his parents to AIDS-related illnesses. Along with three other siblings he now lives with his grandmother.

"I am old and I have been left with this four grandchildren to look after, and on top of that, one of them is a little baby of only three months,” said the 57-year-old grandmother, Mutshekwa Nehelula.

"Last year October my son died of AIDS and left his pregnant wife behind. We hoped that maybe she would survive, but after a couple of months she also passed away while being treated at the Donald Fraser hospital," she added.

Mutshekwa’s 18-year-old granddaughter, Mbuelo Nehelula, is very upset after losing both her parents.

"I thought that maybe my father died because he was not taking his ARVs as instructed, but I didn’t expect my mother to die because she was always taking her ARVs. I don’t know what went wrong but the truth is my heart is very sore because I lost both my parents, and now we are all orphans," said a heart broken Mbuelo.

"I never wanted my sister's baby to grow up without parents, but one cannot change the will of God. All we are left to do is to accept the fact that she is gone and move on," said Mukona Thomani, the deseased younger sister.

"I wish everyone on ARVs can follow the instructions we have given them. It is very important for them to take their ARVs so that they can stay healthy and live longer. I really feel for the family and all the tragedy they are going through and I hope this will be a lesson to someone out there for them to take their ARVs," said Mashudu Nekhavhambe, a junior stuff member at Matavhela clinic.

Thendo Khangale, a 37-year-old neighbour of Mutshekwa Nehelula said he felt sorry for the children. "I feel very sad for what has happened to my neighbours. What pains me more is that the poor baby is left under his old grandmother who also has other grand children to look after. She is only depending on her pension and the child support grant of two grand children to support the family," he said.

Suprise Nemalale is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Vhembe health district in Limpopo.

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