Grandmother's gratitude in time of adversity

2017-11-29 06:02
Likhona Daweti (11) with her grandmother, Zoleka Daweti. Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

Likhona Daweti (11) with her grandmother, Zoleka Daweti. Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

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'He is my everything' - Mother's disabled 21-year-old gives her strength

2016-05-13 09:25

We speak to Nomahlubi Mbusu, a mother from Crossroads in Cape Town who has two severely disabled children. In this video she speaks with us about raising her 21-year-old son who has both cerebral palsy and epilepsy. WATCH

Port Elizabeth - “Likho has touched more lives in her short 11 years than I have in almost 53. She has taught me compassion, unconditional love and the understanding that things could be worse.”

These are the words of New Brighton-based Zoleka Daweti, grandmother to 11-year-old Likhona Daweti.

Likho, as she is affectionately called by her grandmother, has cerebral palsy (CP), an incurable and permanent condition that affects the brain. She often has uncontrollable seizures and she drools because her brain doesn’t tell her to swallow.

- Health24: Cerebral Palsy

According to Zoleka, in 2006, following a difficult labour, her late daughter, Noxolo Daweti became a mother via emergency Caesarean section. “She had requested one as she was struggling and getting weak,” Zoleka explained.

For months the family watched the baby grow, but Zoleka said what bothered her was that at three months, she noticed that Likho had not developed like other babies. “She did not smile, make cooing sounds or play with toys,” Zoleka said.

“We began to panic and were extremely worried.”

She said Likho was referred to a number of doctors and they recommended physiotherapy sessions, however, they were of no help as Likho’s condition remained unchanging.

“When my daughter passed away in 2009, my heart was filled with unspeakable sadness. I felt like the love Likho needed and hoped for was dead. Yes, my grandchild means the world to me, but no love can substitute a mother’s love for her child,” she said.

Talking about juggling her time as both a caregiver and a working grandmother, Zoleka said it is a real challenge.

“Since Likho is a special needs baby, she needs extra care. She is still in nappies and feeding her needs complete patience as she doesn’t chew properly, so all her meals have to be soft and easy to swallow.

“Unfortunately, I cannot afford to take her to a specialised school,” she said, adding that Likho was rejected by a local special cerebral palsy school because her condition is too severe.

Zoleka said recently a specialist at a local public hospital had recommended that Likho undergo corrective spinal surgery.

“Apparently, it is a costly operation and I honestly do not have the funds. I am appealing to anyone who can be of assistance to come forward.”

She described her difficulty with trusting people and how she had pulled away from everyone following an incident where neighbours started making fun of Likho’s condition calling her a ‘profoundly mentally disabled child’.

“I was heartbroken,” Zoleka said, as tears raced down her cheeks. In as much as I have told myself that Likho is perfect, I wish I could do more,” the helpless grandmother said.

“Likho may not know what is going on around her, but she has a heart and she needs respect just like any other human being. I thank God for her everyday.”

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  health

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