A shack is better than veld but still not home
Hardship is painted on the faces of two young brothers from the remote Makhuva village outside Giyani, Limpopo.
It is hard not to shed tears when witnessing the sad, daily plight of Vusi Ndlovu, 16, a grade 11 pupil at the Mangunasavi Secondary School and his younger brother, Thulani, 14, who have been living in a barren, open veld for the past six years.
However, were it not for the intervention of the Makhuva Primary School, where Thulani is doing his grade 6, they would still be living there.
Saddened by their plight, the school has now erected a shack for them to stay in while looking for alternative accommodation.
The children, who have no known relatives in South Africa after their mother returned to Mozambique in 2000 and left them with their grandmother, who died three years ago.
Their mother was apparently attacked by wild animals when crossing the border, leaving the boys to stay in a mud hut, which was washed away in a heavy storm.
Tears rolled down the face of Bennet Nkuna, principal of Makhuva Primary School, as he related the plight of these destitute boys.
Nkuna, who raised funds from the local funeral undertaker to help the boys, said he heard about them about seven years ago after their mother was reported missing.
"I have tried to contact various stakeholders to obtain help for these boys, but all in vain.
"I have used my own money to ensure that they always had food to eat," he said.
"Though a social worker visited them recently and gave them food, they still don't have a permanent place to stay and our challenge is now to find a place for them to live and that is why we have erected this shack," said Nkuna.
All nine funeral undertakers in the area have offered to collect donations such as clothes, foods and other items to build them a better home.