'I keep Mamphela's vision'

2003-10-20 13:44

Tzaneen - Titus Makgela does not have legs, only two short stumps that protrude through his shorts.

This has not stopped the 59-year-old Limpopo man from running his own vegetable garden on the grounds of a disused clinic and selling the produce in Lenyenye near Tzaneen.

His inspiration was none other than managing director responsible for human development at the World Bank, Dr Mamphela Ramphele.

When Ramphele was banished to Lenyenye in 1977 by the apartheid government because of her involvement with the Black Consciousness movement, she built the first clinic in the area.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu officially opened it in 1981 and Titus was one of Ramphele's first employees.

"She was a wonderful woman," he says. "Even though I was a disabled man, she had faith in me and gave me a job. She taught me about self-reliance and to believe in myself and my ability to change my living conditions."

Today "Mamphela's clinic", as it is known in the township, has been closed because of a lack of donor funds but Titus refuses to abandon it. He is determined to carry on the vision Ramphele had.

Every day he crawls to the disused clinic to tend to his vegetable garden and to keep the yard clean.

"I'll never abandon the clinic. Dr. Ramphele's dream will never die," says Makgela. / Newsfirst