First Lady to assist limbless baby Shiluva

Victor Hlungwani and Selby Makgotho

The Limpopo First Lady Trust is to adopt little Shiluva Sibiya, the baby born without arms.

The province's First Lady, Ramokone Moloto, Elizabeth Lekganyane, wife of the leader of the Zion Christian Church, Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane, and businessman Tom Boya will go to Shihosani village in Malamulele to see the child.

Boya, who is chairman of the Limpopo First Lady Trust, said yesterday: "We are going to come back with the child and the mother, and will help them with food and accommodation. We want to assist the child until she can do things on her own."

This happy outcome follows Sowetan's highlighting of the child's plight and that of her mother, Vutlhari Mahlale, last month.

Mahlale is living in abject poverty and cannot afford to raise the child.

Shiluva's father, Lucky Sibiya, was said to have abandoned the child and mother after his mother told him that to associate with them would invite bad luck.

But soon after Sowetan published the story of the mother and child, Sibiya re-established contact.

He has refuted claims that he had abandoned the child. He said "work commitments" had kept him away.

But that's all in the past now.

Boya said that a Polokwane businesswoman, Betty Kennedy, owner of the Myngenoegen English Preparatory School, had offered the mother free accommodation and work.

"The child will be assisted by the Department of Health and Social Development to get artificial limbs," said Boya.

Boya said Moloto had spoken to the department about helping the child.