Mpho says thanks

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Mpho Mathibela uttered three very special words at her 21st birthday party in Klerksdorp in North West earlier this month.

When the City of Matlosana's First Lady handed her a symbolic key signifying the coming of age of South Africa's famous surviving Siamese twin, Mpho said: Ke a leboga, Setswana for thank you.

A joint 21st birthday for Mpho and other vulnerable children of Matlosana, and the memory of Mpho's late sister Mphonyana was honoured at a banquet hosted by the Matlosana council. But torrential rain washed out the party and another birthday party has been rescheduled for Saturday.

The twins who were joined by their heads gripped the imagination of South Africans and thousands prayed for the operation to separate them - in 1989 - to be successful. Sadly, Mphonyana passed away in 1990.

Mpho's earlier birthday was attended by her mother Sophie, Matlosana's executive mayor, China Dodovu, his wife, Madimabe, the surgeons who operated, the nurses who assisted the surgeons, people who contributed to Mpho's welfare over the years, as well as dignitaries.

Prayers were held at the Mathibela home in Joubertina and at Mphonyana's grave on December 6.

Community worker Maggie Nkwe honoured all the people who helped to rally the nation around the twins, particularly Sowetan's former editor-in-chief Dr Aggrey Klaaste, whose publication adopted the twins as part of the newspaper's nation-building campaign.

Mayor Dodovu said: "We should all do more to support the family. We are proud of Mpho's mom Sophie.

"Her child is our child and we will always remember both Mpho and Mphonyana, and we will continue to care for Mpho and her mom Sophie," Dodovu said.