Orphan raises six siblings after mom is murdered

STRICKEN: Tshifhiwa Thinandavha. Pic. Victor Mukwevho Ne-Vumbani. 23/10/2006. © Sowetan.
STRICKEN: Tshifhiwa Thinandavha. Pic. Victor Mukwevho Ne-Vumbani. 23/10/2006. © Sowetan.

Victor Mukwevho Ne-vumbani

Tshifhiwa Thinawanga is grateful to Injectmed private medical school principal Goddard Mugwena.

He has promised to give him R830 every month for a year after his mother was murdered, leaving him to care for his six siblings.

Tshifhiwa, 18, is the eldest son of Shonisani Thinawanga, 38 .

His mother's alleged killer is her husband, Ndivhudza Thinawanga, 40. He is in custody and will appear in court again on October 30.

Shonisani left seven orphans, including a three-month-old baby. Tshifhiwa said the pressure of living without parents and having to take care of his six siblings was unbearable. The local Thulamela municipality has promised to build a house for the family.

In an interview with Sowetan on Saturday, after his mother's funeral, Tshifhiwa said Mugwena had kept his word and that they were surviving because of him.

"With people like Mugwena around we will pull through," Tshifhiwa said.

But what made the situation very difficult for him was that none of his father's relatives had visited him and his siblings since his mother's murder.

"We are staying with our mother's older sister, Maria Hamisi, who has a six-month-old daughter, Ridotshila.

"But where are my father's relatives?" he asked.

Asked about the prospect of furthering his education, he said the future was bleak "but only God knows our fate and what will happen next".

"I have been told the government will help us with our education but there is nothing in black and white.

"We only hope that God will bless Goddard Mugwena so that he can continue with his generous help even after the one year is up," said a sobbing Tshifhiwa.