VHEMBE. – Gloria Mathukha is used to be called ‘crazy’ or ‘mad woman’, but this doesn’t make it any easier. This 36-year-old woman from Matavhela village in Limpopo has a mentally disability and suffers constant discrimination from members in her community.
“I feel very sad and disturbed in my soul and my heart because everywhere I go in the community people call me a ‘crazy woman’. I don’t like to be called that. It makes me feel very different from other people, like I’m abnormal, and that breaks my heart,” said Gloria.
Gloria’s older sister, Mercy Mathukha said: “I don’t think people are doing right by my sister because she feels unwelcome here in the community and that is because they tease her because of her disability and are always calling her names.
“I really don’t understand why people should tease her like that because she doesn’t deserve to be called a crazy person. Gloria is a very good woman who is always working. She owns a spaza shop here at this community, and she is so good with numbers that children even come to her for help with their mathematics homework. She is also good with pottery,” said Mercy.
The chief at Mafukani village, Ndileni Nemafukani, is unhappy about some of the villagers’ attitude towards disabled people. “Gloria has come to the royal house for quite some time now complaining about the way she is being treated by people in the community. I don’t know what has come over my people because I know them as people of respect and acceptance. All disabilities are the same, it is just the body part which has been disabled that makes a difference so I think people around the community should start to learn that and stop teasing these disabled people because it is not their will that they are disabled but that of God. People should learn to appreciate them as they are and live with them like any other people around the community,” said Nemafukani.
“I just wish people could stop calling me ‘crazy’ or ‘mad woman’ because I feel uncomfortable with that. I know that I’m mentally disabled but it doesn’t mean I deserve to be called names,” Gloria concluded.
Suprise Nemalale is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Vhembe health district in Limpopo