Mom forced to sell alcohol to feed family

Businessman Tadesse Haile Abraham, left, and community member Sibusiso Mangane flank the family of Adelaide Mhlongo at KaMaqhekeza village outside Komatipoort in Mpumalanga. The family received food parcels from the Good Samaritans on Sunday. / MANDLA KHOZA
Businessman Tadesse Haile Abraham, left, and community member Sibusiso Mangane flank the family of Adelaide Mhlongo at KaMaqhekeza village outside Komatipoort in Mpumalanga. The family received food parcels from the Good Samaritans on Sunday. / MANDLA KHOZA

Farmworker Adelaide Mhlongo says her circumstances at home forced her to break the lockdown regulations and brew alcohol to sell in order to buy food for her family, which has 13 children.

Mhlongo, 30, hails from Block C in KaMaqhekeza, outside Komatipoort, near the SA border with Mozambique.

However, her struggle with securing enough food for the family was eased when community member Sibusiso Mangane and businessman Tadesse Haile Abraham donated food parcels to them on Sunday.

"I'm very thankful, these people were sent by God and I'm grateful for what they have done for me.

"Just when I was thinking of another plan for us to have a meal today, these good people came with this food," a hugely relieved Mhlongo told Sowetan yesterday. "I have four children, while other children are my sister's.

"My sister is on chronic medication. All-in-all we have 13 children and it has been very difficult to take care of my family.

"Life has been a struggle here even on normal days [outside of the lockdown period].

"I work at a farm and have been in the house during this lockdown period, doing nothing. I know I won't get paid at the end of the month because I have not been to work.

"Though I know it's illegal to brew and sell alcohol, I was forced to do it to make sure that I buy food for myself and the family. Now the children and I are happy after receiving these groceries."

Mangane said he partnered with Abraham, an Ethiopian national, so they can reach and assist more families.

"When I saw the situation around the area, I knew there was something wrong when community members are being left without food.

"I gathered what I had and talked to Abraham that we should provide the struggling families with some food, and we managed to reach at least 100 households," Mangane said.

Abraham, who owns a food and household goods wholesale shop in KaMaqhekeza, told Sowetan that he's happy he was able to assist the affected families in the area.

"You know, we are business people and these people buy from us, but we don't know the struggles at their homes.

"I'm always happy to assist our people.

"We will check on these families now and then to see if they are well as the lockdown persists," promised Abraham.

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