Born with long nails, a little girl suffers alone

Elisha Molefe

Elisha Molefe

The month-old public sector strike is over and pupils throughout the country are to resume their studies next week, but North West's Puseletso Makoko won't be heading to school because she fears being ridiculed.

Puseletso, 9, a Grade 4 pupil at EHMogasa Primary School, was born with such unusual nails that her schoolmates from Bodibe village have nicknamed her Dracula.

Her hard nails are about 4cm long and shaped like cigarette butts.

Puseletso is not the only one in her family born with extraordinary nails: her mother and her two-year-old brother have the same problem.

Her father died three years ago and the family were living in extreme poverty until a Good Samaritan adopted them.

A pensioner called William, who preferred not to furnish his surname, has provided the family with a roof over their heads.

"Sometimes I use a steel saw to cut their nails but it hurts them. I do not know what to do now," he said.

William said he has repeatedly asked for help from organisations in the area.

Abie Tladi, a community development worker, said she had tried to help the family but that had caused friction between local political organisations.

"We were able to secure an appointment for Puseletso at Bophelong Hospital last May but certain organisations told us to stop because they said the family lived in their ward and was therefore their responsibility."

While the bickering about who will help Puseletso continues, she has vowed not to attend school until her "nail problem" is solved.