Toddler to have some of his 15 toes removed

2014-12-23 11:44

A three-year-old boy is to undergo surgery to remove some of the 15 toes on his feet, and to separate the fused fingers on both his hands.

A surgeon, who has asked to remain anonymous, has arranged for the operation to be done free of charge as part of the Umsebe Accord – a partnership between the municipalities of Matola in Mozambique, Mbabane in Swaziland, and Mbombela and Nkomazi in Mpumalanga, to develop and promote cooperation and understanding between their citizens.

“The child is unable to wear shoes ... because of the extra toes and is forced to walk barefoot,” Mbombela municipal spokesperson Joseph Ngala said.

An additional R320 000 was raised to help the boy’s family, which would include building them a new house.

Ngala said the boy lived with his grandmother, who earned just R500 a month as a domestic worker. She had to support three other children, one of whom was disabled.

They all lived in a one-room house in Hilltop in Swaziland.

The little boy’s mother abandoned him when he was 18 months old.

He was born with a condition called polydactylism and syndactylism, which refers to a person having too many toes and fingers, or fingers or toes that are fused.

All his fingers, except his thumbs, are fused together.

He has seven toes on his left foot and eight toes on his right foot, but is able to walk.

Ngala said the boy was vulnerable to human trafficking.

“He has been wanted by anonymous people, maybe for reasons of performing rituals, saying, ‘sifuna lomntfwana lonetinyawo letiningi’ [we want the child with many legs],” he said.

“He sometimes wanders away from home searching for food, because of insufficient food in the house,” Ngala said.

Mbombela mayor Sibusiso Mathonsi thanked all donors, who included government and businesses, for their contribution.

Initially R140 000 was expected to be raised to build a new house for the family, but Mathonsi said that with the extra money, more could be done for the little boy.

Besides surgery, he would also receive religious and psychological support.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.