Cape Town 'teen mom' uses daughter's cerebral palsy to inspire others

2017-05-31 12:06
Gugulethu resident Nosphiwo Queeneth Gum was just 17 when she gave birth to her Cerebral Palsy daughter. Her daughter lived for just 10 years. Gum is now a youth counsellor and using her experience to help others. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Gugulethu resident Nosphiwo Queeneth Gum was just 17 when she gave birth to her Cerebral Palsy daughter. Her daughter lived for just 10 years. Gum is now a youth counsellor and using her experience to help others. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

'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

Cape Town – When Nosphiwo Queeneth Gum gave birth to her daughter at 17, she could have hardly realised that one day she would be forced to say goodbye forever.

And that she would emerge stronger, no longer frightened about death, and able to help other youths with difficult life choices.

It was not long after little Simamkele was born in 2003 that doctors revealed she had Cerebral Palsy, a disorder that affects movement, motor skills and muscle tone.

- Health24: Cerebral Palsy

“I thought: is that a boy’s name? They took her to hospital, did tests, and it was just a scary thing for me because I didn’t know what was happening,” the now 30-year-old said on Tuesday.

She felt she had two choices – either stressing about it or accepting it.

“I realised that after everything, as young as I was, she is my child and that comes from a place where I didn’t really feel like I belonged anywhere and here I get given a responsibility.”

Gum is now a counsellor for Salesian Life Choices, a Cape Town-based social enterprise investing in youth.

Campaign 

She was speaking as the organisation launched the ’30 Stories in 30 Days’ campaign for June, which aimed to share the stories of extraordinary youths who had risen above difficult circumstances.

This was after cross industry market research revealed that people most commonly associated negative connotations when hearing the word youth, such as teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol.

Gum said she named her daughter to reflect her acceptance of the situation and the gift that was brought into her life.

Doctors kept telling her to prepare for her daughter’s death. She felt only she would know when it was her daughter’s day.

Over the next decade, the hospital became their second home and Gum was very hesitant to share her daughter with the world because she did not want people to pity her.

“To me she was my child and she was normal.”

It was while she and her mom were preparing for the girl’s 10th birthday that her health started to deteriorate.

She refused to allow doctors to switch the life support machines off. After praying in her room, the girl passed away.


Little Simamkele in hospital, which became her second home. (Supplied)

“I used to be scared of death. It was such a peaceful moment. I now choose to celebrate her life,” said the Gugulethu resident with tears in her eyes.

“I think until today I have learnt that my situation is not who I am, it’s part of my journey. It teaches you a lot and you just have to keep fighting.”

The stories would be shared on the Salesian Life Choices social media sites and on WeCan24, a digital school news platform.

At the end of the campaign, a coffee book of stories, entitled The Cape Town Youth Book, would be released along with original illustrations and photos of the individuals.

“This book will show a totally different side. It centres on the theme- from victim to victor,” said Salesian Life Choices spokesperson Hannelie Booyens.

“We really wanted to celebrate lives, young people and show a completely different side of the youth.”


Read more on:    cape town  |  health

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.