A year ago Bongani Malevu, like other teenagers, had dreams. He also thought he had a whole life ahead of him, until a bullet of a robber left him paralysed and hopeless. His mother had died a few months before the shooting that changed his life.
Malevu, 19, of Nancefield hostel in Soweto, says nothing will cheer him up this Christmas. Everyday is now a struggle. He lives alone in a hostel room. He cannot apply for a disability grant because he does not have an ID. His unemployed brother Mlungisi Zulu visits to help him with the laundry and cooking if he has food.
"I wish I would have a nice Christmas, have nice food," says wheelchair-bound Malevu.
He says he was left paralysed when he and five friends were attacked by unknown men while partying at the hostel on December 16 last year.
"We were having a good time when two men appeared from nowhere and opened fire. The other guys died but I survived. I underwent an operation to remove a bullet that was stuck in my head. I spent six months in the (Chris-Hani Baragwanath) hospital. I am still on treatment," he yesterday.
He says he is surviving on handouts from Good Samaritan, neighbours who donate food and money. He says his mother died in a car accident in March last year. His father, who suffers from mental illness, has been in the home of a traditional healer in Dobsonville since April last year.
Malevu, who was not attending school at the time of the incident, says when his mother died they were in the process of getting him an ID. She was trying to get his birth certificate first, which had been lost.
Hostel headman Thandazani Shange says: "I have tried to talk to social workers about Malevu's case but nothing has happened. They always promise to come attend to his plight but they don't. I don't know what to do now."
Fred Mokoko, who speaks for the Gauteng department of social services, says there would be no special plan for Malevu.
"We encourage people like him to apply for disability grants. The department has no special plans for people in his situation."