Sad tale of mom and her child

"MY SON, can you please give me R5 so that I can buy a loaf of bread for myself and my daughter."

This is how the Sowetan team was greeted by 48-year-old Busisiwe Mlungwana of Ottawa, on Durban's North Coast.

Mlungwana and her 11-year-old daughter Bonisiwe, who is in Grade 3, were forced to squat in a two-roomed low-cost house after their four-roomed house was demolished to make way for a freeway to the new King Shaka International Airport. They share it with two men

When we visited her on Tuesday the only food we saw was four potatoes on the floor.

Mlungwana had not eaten and Bonisiwe , who was at school, was due to return to a "home" without food.

"I don't have money to buy food and I don't know what I will give my daughter when she comes back from school," Mlungwana said.

"I feel so sad and hurt when she asks for food because as a mother I feel like I'm failing her, but she has to understand that this is the reality of the way we live and are faced with."

Loaded on a truck

"I was staying in a four-roomed house, but in April, the home was demolished as a construction company wanted to construct a highway to the new King Shaka International Airport."

The home had been given to her by her previous employer. She thinks the department of local government for the land may have paid her employer off for the land.

Mlungwan said after their home was demolished, they were loaded on a truck and dumped in the low-cost house they share with two men they do not know.

"Since we moved in here, we have been suffering one abuse after another. When I do get some food these men eat all the food and my daughter has to go to schoolhungry," Mlungwana said.

She collects scrap metal to sell to earn some money.

"Sometimes we struggle to get those scraps and I have to go to my former bosses and beg for food and they would give me whatever they have, if I'm unlucky. Sometimes I just go to bed on an empty stomach."

Community healthcare worker Phyllis Majola said she would take Mlungwana to social workers so she could register for a child support grant because Bonisiwe should be receiving a grant.