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Food gifts brighten orphans' lives

By unknown | Mar 08, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mvuyo Mati

Mvuyo Mati

An end to their misery seemed to be in sight for two orphaned sisters this week when food parcels were delivered to their shack in Mdantsane.

The teenagers, Mandisa, 18, and Zikhona Mgquba, 17, were happy when the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) brought them much-needed groceries at their makeshift house at Ramaphosa informal settlement on Monday.

The sisters were little girls when their mother, Nobantu Mgquba, died in 1993, four years after they were born.

Their father, Mzimhle, died seven years later.

Grade 10 pupils at Zinzani High School at NU5, the sisters have spent most of their lives without a proper diet and a place to live .

Last year their desperate situation turned even worse when they had to share a pair of school shoes.

One would wear the shoes to go to school, while the other stayed at home.

A sympathetic teacher from another school, Nontsikelo Njikelana-Mgquba (no relation), bought them each their own pair of shoes.

She also bought them a cellphone so she could be in regular contact with them and continued to buy or collect food for them.

Sowetan last week highlighted the girls' plight. This prompted Sassa to act by promising the teenagers food parcels.

When Sassa official Phumla Nazo, accompanied by two staffers, delivered the parcels this week, an ecstatic Mandisa said: "We are so happy, really happy. We will preserve this food as much as we can."

Nazo promised the teenagers would get this relief from social distress every month.

In addition, the agency has approached the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development to arrange for Zikhona to receive a foster-care grant.

Unfortunately, Mandisa is already 18 and does not qualify for a grant.

A Johannesburg woman contacted Sowetan and promised to give a box of clothes to the teenagers.

Fezeka Yengwa has asked for the girls' sizes so she could give clothing to them from her own wardrobe.

She said her friend would also make a similar gift, and promised that the clothes would be ready to be delivered to the teenagers by tomorrow.


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