I had to be my daughter's voice, says mom of matric pupil with severe disability

Zoleka Mkunqwana and her daughter, Sebabalwe, one of 2019's top matrics.
Zoleka Mkunqwana and her daughter, Sebabalwe, one of 2019's top matrics.
Image: Naledi Shange

The mother of a 2019 matric pupil who is unable to use her limbs or speak on Tuesday told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE that the year had been tough.

“She wrote very well, though it was tough. She used a special device to write her exams, where she uses her eyes to communicate. At times, she wrote through a scribe because she quickly gets tired because of her disability,” said Zoleka Mkunqwana on behalf of her daughter, Sebabalwe.

Zoleka and Sebabalwe were at Vodaworld in Midrand, where minister of basic education Angie Motshekga honoured 2019's top-achieving matric pupils.

Sebabalwe who has severe athetoid cerebral palsy, was among them. She studied at Vukuhambe Special School in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape. 



“She did not receive much support from the department of education, I don’t want to lie. I had to fight. She would say, ‘Mom, you are my voice, my feet and my eyes’, and once she said that, I knew I had to get up and get help for her,” Zoleka said. 

For years, their pleas for help fell on deaf ears. 

Zoleka said all the devices her daughter had used to study had been sponsored. They had been waiting for department assistance since 2017.

“The national department finally came through to attend to her situation in October 2019. At the time, I had even given up praying,” said Zoleka.

While she was not sure what her daughter had achieved, Zoleka said they were proud of her as, despite all the odds, Sebabalwe had succeeded. 

Zoleka said her daughter studied very hard throughout the year, at times not sleeping at all. 

“I would wake up at 3am and find her still sitting where I left her, studying,” said Zoleka. 

Sebabalwe is hoping to further her studies in Pretoria this year.

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