Maemu (45) and Magedana (28) are both psychiatric patients from Masea and Matshena villages in Mutale (Limpopo), and decided to write the book after Dr Nndwamato of Donald Frazer Hospital in Vhufulwi village advised them to do it last year.
According to Maemu, the idea of the book, PFUNZO NDI MAPFURA NA LEBULA (‘Education is everything’) came after Magedane, who is also his best friend, complained to Dr Nndwamato about the poor treatment psychiatric patients receive. Nndwamato then challenged Magedane to express his frustrations by writing a book.
When Magedana returned home, he suggested to his friend that they write a book, based on Maemu’s life-story together.
The book tells the story of Rabelani, a psychiatric patient who was left in the care of his step-mother, Norah and his father Muvhango, after his mother died. Because of challenges at home, Rabelani went to stay with his uncle Kurume where he completed his grade 12.
He was taking medications to stabilise his illness and this helped him to complete a nursing diploma at the University of Venda.
However, the illness returned while he was working as a nurse, but with the proper treatment it disappeared again.
Rabelani later got married to Nkele. He became rich and owned a fleet of cars.
The story ended when Rabelani was helping hid step-mother, Norah while she was struggling to make end-meets after the death of his father.
This story was based on Maemu’s life. After completing his Matric, Maemu worked as a store manager for Venetia Mine, but in 1992 he became ill and had to leave his job. He recovered and was able to return to work in the same year.
However, the illness struck again in 1994 and he had to leave his job permanently.
Maemu says: “We wrote this book after realising that many people give up in their lives and think that being mentally ill is the end of the world.”
Maemu, who is married with three children says he is appealing to anybody who can help them to publish their book so that they can achieve their dream of writing more books and train other people like them on how to write books.
Currently Magedana is being held by police for torching his mother’s house.
Maemu believe his friend’s actions where cause by lack of medication.
“One of our biggest challenges is getting our medication regularly. I personally do not have a problem, but I think my friend was affected by lack of treatment,” says Maemu.
* Story by Ndivhuwo Musetha, OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Vhembe district in Limpopo.