“…we are simply doing this because lending a hand to your neighbours and community is deeply embedded in our African culture”.
The recent violent weather conditions in Engcobo town in the Eastern have left several people homeless.
Among the affected people is a sickly senior citizen, Million Macholi. Macholi (89) has been staying with his disabled son, Andile Macholi since the passing of his wife. The two stay in the outskirts of Engcobo and have been struggling to make ends meet as they are solely dependent on a single SASSA grant. The heavy storms did not spare their home.
Macholi’s disabled son does not receive disability grant on the account that SASSA officials deem him unfit to receive the grant. This came after few years following the grant application which was initially successfully but on a temporal basis. ” Since 2009, I have applied for disability grant and my application was successful, I am not sure on which year, but I had to renew it after every 6 months,” revealed Macholi.
Nonetheless, he also shared “when I attempted to renew it as required, SASSA officials made it known to me that I am no longer eligible to apply as I am fit to work.”
“My leg is decorated with wires, I cannot stand for long hours without the wires reminding me of their presence and when it is cold, my leg would tell me before I even check the weather, therefore, their claim that I am fit enough to work puzzles me,” added Macholi.
However, the family’s narrative took a different turn as good samaritans showed up and eased their pain. The ward councillor of Nkondlo, Upper Manyisa, Sekela Lobi joined forces with a local NPO, Hope For The Needy, an organization that assists needy people. Together, they donated food parcels to the Macholi family.
“Following the disaster, a damage assessment team was dispatched around the village to assess the damage and I was among the team that had to go around Upper Manyisa. The circumstance of the Macholi homestead was unique and heart- piercing, the elder was in pain and the condition of the home was not conducive for a sick person,” explained Lobi.
Lobi further said, “It also came to our knowledge that the family literally had nothing to eat. For this reason, I felt propelled to join Hope For The Needy as they walked the streets of Nkondlo to ask for food donations from local business owner and the outcomes are mesmerizing and here we are to handover the food, so the granddad can have coffee in the morning,” concluded Lobi.
“We’re grateful to Councillor Lobi and the members of Hope For The Needy, we were literally in the desert, the food they brought restored our home’s warmth and dignity, ” said a family member who wanted their identity concealed.
“The organisation is open to anyone who derives pleasure from assisting those in need, we’re not here to represent any political party as ourselves are from different political affiliations, we are simply doing this because lending a hand to your neighbours and community is deeply embedded in our African culture” said Bongiwe Qongqo, the organisation’s Deputy Chairperson.
By Vuyokazi Mdlungu