Children's Health HIV - Antiretrovirals (ARVs) HIV and AIDS OurHealth

Young family looks to education for hope

Written by Tshilidzi Tuwani

When you head the house at 18 years old, things and dreams change as Thabang Malekutu is discovering months after became his siblings’ sole caregiver.

School children

Community health care workers stepped in to teach the children how to cook following their mother’s death

Last week, OurHealth reported on the Malekutus from outside Hammaanskraal who were recently orphaned after their mother defaulted on antiretroviral treatment.

Their mother, Sophy Malekutu, was just 42 years old when she died in late May after falling sick.

She left behind Thabang and three other children between the ages of 9 and 15 years. Months after Sophy’s death, Thabang is already realising some dreams will now be out of reach.

“I am bound to act as a parent and a child at the same time after my mother died of AIDS,” said Thabang, who had hoped to travel.

Now, he says he hopes to enrol in UNISA’s Bachelor of Laws programme to avoid leaving his siblings without a guardian.

“My mother’s sickness and death has really dealt a blow in my life,” he told OurHealth. “I do not know how I will further my studies but I believe that my uncle or a good samaritan may assist.”

His uncle has vowed to try to better support the children. Refentse Drop-in Centre Community Health Worker Nomhle Matshaya said she is engaging with social workers to secure grants for the children and possibly a bursary for Thabang.

About the author

Tshilidzi Tuwani

Tshilidzi Tuwani is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Gauteng's Tshwane Health District.