A new home at last for blind man

2016-12-09 10:46
A blind man from Elandskop received a new RDP house after Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo had first-hand experience of the man's everyday struggles. This was Ernest Mdunge’s house before he received the title deeds to his new home. INSET:  Themba Njilo (left) helps Ernest Mdunge and 86-year-old Lillozer Ndlovu, sign their title deeds to their new homes while the local ward councillor, Thandi Madondo, looks on.

A blind man from Elandskop received a new RDP house after Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo had first-hand experience of the man's everyday struggles. This was Ernest Mdunge’s house before he received the title deeds to his new home. INSET: Themba Njilo (left) helps Ernest Mdunge and 86-year-old Lillozer Ndlovu, sign their title deeds to their new homes while the local ward councillor, Thandi Madondo, looks on. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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Pietermaritzburg - A bind man’s arduous three-kilometre journey from his rickety one-roomed home to fetch 40 litres of water to share with his sister each day, is finally over.

Elandskop resident Ernest Mdunge (49) had for years walked a treacherously rocky path each day, fetching and carrying 40 litres of water, using only his memory of the road before he lost his eyesight, and his furry companion Mango, the dog.

Navigating the rocky road, carrying a 20-litre bucket of water in each hand, Mdunge would bring the buckets home to his dilapidated hut, with crumbling brick walls sourced from a demolished house and sparse grass roof.

Mdunge provides for himself and his mentally challenged sister, Bongekile Hlengwa (46), who shared the hut with Mdunge with only his disability grant. He also grows vegetables from seeds donated by neighbours.

On Thursday morning, Mdunge was handed the title to a brand-new home by Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo.

Led to the front door of his new home by Njilo and other Msunduzi officials, Mdunge stepped into his new two-bedroom home, fully furnished with a lounge suite, a double bed and a dining-room table set.

Three weeks ago, Njilo walked the path Mdunge follows and visited Mdunge’s family for “first-hand experience” of the daily struggles he goes through to survive.

The mayor called the Human Settlement Department’s Vulindlela Development Association (VDA), a rural housing project, and commissioned them to build Mdunge and his sister an RDP house.

Within two weeks, the contractors had completed the house, which Njilo furnished, using money from his own pocket.

With a Jojo tank installed on his property and a place he could proudly call home, Mdunge thanked Njilo and the municipality for what they had done for him and his sister.

“I want to thank the mayor, the community, our ward councillor and the Msunduzi delegation,” said Mdunge, sitting comfortably on his new lounge suite.

“I have known about the mayor and the work he does for the community for a long time, but now I have met him and he is helping us.

“What you have done for me is out of this world. I never thought I would have this type of life.

“What you have done for me, please do for others,” said Mdunge as he leaned back happily on his new couch.

The mayor then led Mdunge to the bedroom, helping him to sit on his first bed, still wrapped in plastic with a large headboard.

Mdunge flopped down onto the bed, lying down comfortably, with a huge grin on his face.

After a few moments of soaking in the reality that he now had a proper bed, he again thanked Njilo for all his hard work.

Mdunge’s sister was then led into the house, gasping when she saw the lounge and her own double bed.

With tears running down her cheeks, Hlengwa repeatedly thanked Njilo and his delegation.

“We were struggling but now we have a home,” she said.

“May God bless every one of you. I had heard what Njilo had done for the people and now he is helping us. I am running out of words to say thank you,” said an emotional Hlengwa.

After the delegation had left the house, Mdunge went in search of his four-legged best friend, Mango.

Sitting quietly in the shade, Mango began wagging his tail at the sound of Mdunge’s voice before he was swept into a bear-hug by his owner.

Mango had helped to guide Mdunge along the rocky path to fetch water, even barking in warning when his owner approached large rocks.

Mdunge introduced the shy dog to the few remaining delegates, showing him off proudly before letting Mango go back to the shade.

Njilo said he had been helping and working for the community for most of his life and the fact that Mdunge finally had a home of his own, made him “very happy”.

He said being the mayor meant he had more resources to help struggling communities and that “from now, things are only looking up”.

“We will be going to other areas and identifying three families living under very bad circumstances and build houses for them,” the mayor said.

He said the support from his executive council had enabled him to continue his community work for which he was “extremely thankful”.

Njilo also thanked Build It Boshoff and Bhangwath for donating tanks that would be used in future building projects for the community.

Msunduzi Mayor, Themba Njilo also handed over the title deeds of a new house to Mdunge’s neighbour, 86-year-old Lillozer Ndlovu.

Ndlovu sang with joy and thanked Njilo and the delegation for the new house and the water tank.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  good news

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