Limpopo village brings ubuntu to life

Limpopo village brings ubuntu to lifeMatodzi Kwinda says she felt hopeless after losing her daughter and being charged with her three young boys. Villagers pulled together to help Kwinda access social grants to support the family (File photo)

A tiny Limpopo village proves that ubuntu is not dead as they pull together to help a grandmother raise three children.

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Matodzi Kwinda says she felt hopeless after losing her daughter and being charged with her three young boys. Villagers pulled together to help Kwinda access social grants to support the family (File photo)
Matodzi Kwinda says she felt hopeless after losing her daughter and being charged with her three young boys. Villagers pulled together to help Kwinda access social grants to support the family (File photo)

When her daughter died of AIDS-related illnesses, 69-year-old Matodzi Kwinda of Mabvete village in Limpopo was left to look after her three grandchildren. Living with diabetes and surviving on a meagre pension, Kwinda knew the task would be overwhelming but she loved her three grandsons, who were not on social grants. She knew they depended on her to survive.

“Their mother was my only child and she died three years ago from HIV,” said Kwinda, who had suddenly become a mother again to the three boys, the youngest of who was just seven years old.

“When she died none of them had birth certificates so they were not getting a grant payment. For a long while we had to survive on just my pension. It was very tough,” she added.

Women of the village started to pull together to help Kwinda.

“They first helped me get in touch with people from home affairs so I could get my grandchildren birth certificates,” she said.

That was the start of the process of accessing grants for her grandchildren to ease some of her financial burden.

“When my daughter died, I thought I was going to die,” said Kwinda. “I was so, so sad and I also felt the pressure and stress of everything that was happening while still trying to deal with my diabetes.”

[quote float= right]With the help of my nurses and the women from my village, I have come through those dark days and now I am happy with my grandchildren”

“With the help of my nurses and the women from my village, I have come through those dark days and now I am happy with my grandchildren,” she told OurHealth. “I now can also manage looking after all three boys, as well as manage my illness.”

“I really thank the women of this village who came together and helped me,” she added. “Today I am able to be happy like others, I never thought it would be possible three years ago.”

Community member Alitshavhi Maluta was one of the villagers who came forward to help, including pooling money so that Kwinda could travel to her nearest Home Affairs office, which was some distance from the village.

“It was so very painful to watch her (Kwinda) suffer on her own with three children,” Maluta said. “We agreed as the community that everyone interested must help to raise some funds for her to be able to travel to town so that she could get her grandsons’ birth certificates.”

Themselves having little spare cash, got together and used every cent they could to raise enough money to ensure that Kwinda could get to the Home Affairs office, a distance from the village.

“We managed to raise enough money by everyone pulling together so (Kwinda) and her grandsons could get to the home affairs offices,” Maluta explained. “She got the certificates as well as the grants for them. This has helped ease the financial burden and looking after her grandsons has become easier.”

Grace Makhado is a junior nurse at Tshiungani Clinic in Vhembe where Kwinda is a patient. Makhado said she watched the elderly woman overcome an initial depression following her daughter’s death and her diagnosis with diabetes. She added that Kwinda is now doing well on her medication.