The surviving twin had specific ideas about style
Mama Angel spent an enjoyable afternoon watching Mpho Mathibela shop for her 21st birthday.
Mpho is one of the famous Mathibela Siamese twins who were born in Klerksdorp on December 7 1986 to Sophie Mathibela, a humble domestic worker. They were joined at the head and shared a major vein.
They were successfully operated on in 1988 at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital by Professor Robert Lipshitz and his team of highly-qualified medical experts.
Mphonyana, the weaker twin, survived the operation but died in 1990 of pneumonia. Sowetan established a trust fund which bought a house for the twins and their mother. Their father disappeared after they were born.
Mpho, a bubbly young woman, was shy at first, but gradually warmed up and regaled us with hilarious asides about her preferences in clothing.
"I do not want new nighties, I have plenty of those at home," Mpho said.
"And please forget about track suits, that is all I wear. I want skirts and pants in bright colours".
She was happy to go shopping for the first time as her mother generally bought clothes for her. She had specific ideas about style and made sure that her T-shirts were not stomach out patterns.
"No I am not you, we do not like the same things," she retorted when shown skirts she did not like. She cannot wear most of the latest styles because of her disability.
She fell in love with a denim and Seshweshwe skirt which she decided to wear at her party.
Mpho speaks Afrikaans fluently and greeted many adults whose children attend classes with her.
"Today is my best shopping day. I will rest tomorrow Mama. Today I am not tired at all. I want to see everything."
Her mother shrugged her shoulders and then thanked Sowetan for making her daughter happy.
"I am very happy because the Sowetan and the late Ntate Klaaste have always looked after us. We have managed to survive because of the goodwill of others," said Sophie.