Thembalihle man’s living hell of pain

2012-04-26 00:00

HE presses a damp cloth on his face to soothe the pain that burns his face. But when the affliction is too bad he sometimes breaks down in tears.

Thembinkosi Ndawonde, of Thembalihle informal settlement near Eastwood, has lived with this anguish for more than two years, he told The Witness.

Speaking from his mud house, he said he had even thought of killing himself.

“I’d lost all hope. I thought death was better than this.”

Ndawonde said the tumour-like lumps started as an itchy abscess and eventually spread all over his body.

His face is swollen and he even struggles to relieve himself. He said he had had no joy from a local clinic and hospital.

“I’ve made several visits to the clinic, but I’ve been sent from pillar to post. When I went to the hospital they said there was information missing so they couldn’t admit me.”

With no job or support system he said he sometimes walks to Northdale Hospital.

He said he worked at a local firm, but had since resigned.

The 22-year-old said he sometimes goes deaf because of the growths.

“I can’t even leave the house or go out with friends. I’m so weak. I now live on soft porridge because I’m unable to eat because my gums are also swollen”.

A local home-based caregiver, who is known to The Witness, said their task as volunteers is “quite heavy”.

“I have to ask around for porridge to see that Ndawonde has something to eat. We don’t have a first-aid kit, not even gloves,” she said.

She said that when they ask for gloves at a clinic they are always turned away.

“When I go to the hospital to fetch some of the patients’ medication I sometimes end up stealing gloves so that we do our job,” the caregiver added.

Ndawonde is described as someone who used to be lively but now that’s all gone.

He said he yearns to be normal again.

“I wish I could be healed,” he pleaded.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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