Good samaritans rescue farmworker and family

Farmworker Agnes Shabangu and her children stand in front of groceries that were donated by a Sowetan reader./ MANDLA KHOZA
Farmworker Agnes Shabangu and her children stand in front of groceries that were donated by a Sowetan reader./ MANDLA KHOZA

A Mpumalanga farmworker who had sleepless nights - wondering where her family's next meal would come from after being told she would not get paid during the Covid-19 lockdown - breathed a sigh of relief after she received food donations .

Agnes Shabangu's plight was first published by Sowetan less than a week ago and, since then, pledges for assistance have been coming through .

Shabangu, a mother of five, had said she wished her family could contract Covid-19 so they would be hospitalised and would be guaranteed food every day.

"It was not easy. My children would go fishing at a nearby river, but after we had eaten that fish, I would not sleep well thinking about what we would eat the following day," the 45-year-old said.

Shabangu's family usually survives on her R3,000 salary and food schemes at her children's school. But the lockdown has meant no source of income or food.

Among those who contributed to Shabangu's family is the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation, which has pledged to assist her with R2,500 worth of grocery vouches for two months.

The foundation, sponsored by Zamani Holdings, said it was "deeply touched" by Shabangu's plight.

"What really touched us was that she even wished she could get infected with the virus so she and her children could be taken to a place of safety where they'll receive food.

"That to us was a desperate call and although we are in the process of rolling out a food relief drive in Mpumalanga, we thought it was necessary to act immediately and made contact with Ms Shabangu," said Khensani Mabuza, corporate relations executive at Zamani Holdings.

On Monday, Sowetan reported that a reader Thembelihle Shabangu, not related to the family, bought them groceries worth R1,000 and gave them R500 in cash. The provincial department of social development also donated food.

Shabangu said she was humbled by the support she had received.

"Good people still exist, I am really grateful. The support we have received will last us for a while," she said.

The foundation said it was deeply rooted in ubuntu and believes that charity begins at home.

It has since vowed that it's committed to helping more families in Mpumalanga who have lost their sources of income and are unable to work during the lockdown period.

In partnership with the Penreach NGO, the foundation says it will support 3,500 families in Mpumalanga.

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