Gran crawls to survive
NTHONTI Tshwaame (73) is deaf and cannot walk. She has to crawl to get around.
In 2005 she accidentally cut her leg with an axe while chopping wood. Her leg became infected and swollen and she was forced to get around by crawling.
But regardless of these challenges she can cook, clean the house and iron clothes.
The 73-year-old woman suffers from hypersomnia, a disorder characterised by excessive sleepiness.
Tshwaame lives at Makolokoe village near Brits, in North West.
She and her brother Shimane Tshwaame, 64, live in a four-roomed house their parents previously owned and use a shack at the back to cook.
Neither has children.
"This is our parents' house. We used to be five but two passed on and it is only my two sisters and I who still alive. The other one got married and lives in Lefiso village near Hammanskraal. She only visits us when she gets a chance," Shimane said.
Though she likes to cook and clean for herself and her brother, Nthonti, says she cannot cope.
Even though the pair have a two-plate electric stove, Nthonti prefers to use the fire where she has to chop wood to cook because she cannot stand up to use the stove.
Nthonti says she is scared she might get burnt while she is asleep because this has already happened to her before while she was busy cooking.
Yesterday, when Sowetan visited the siblings, Nthonti was busy shining the floor and singing church songs.
"I have been crawling for two years now and I am used to it," she said. "I can do anything but the problem is that I fall asleep when no one talks to me or when I am alone.
"I cannot control it, it just happens."
They both receive pension grants, but said they felt they could no longer take care of each other because they are old.
Their nephew has to go and withdraw money from the bank for them and buy their food.