City Vision

'It hurts to see my son all alone': A mom’s desperate cry for a school for her disabled son

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Tabisa Sigonyela (33) plays with her 11-year old son, Awonke Sigonyela.PHOTO: MZWANELE MKALIPI
Tabisa Sigonyela (33) plays with her 11-year old son, Awonke Sigonyela.PHOTO: MZWANELE MKALIPI

Her only wish is to see her disabled 11-year-old son get a school to spend time with his peers instead of being locked at home all alone.

Tabisa Sigonyela (33), from Site C’s Taiwan informal settlement, is looking for a school to accommodate her son, Awonke.

The boy is unable to speak or walk.

He spends most of his time in a wheelchair, that is if he is not crawling on the floor.

Sigonyela told City Vision that all her efforts to find a school in Khayelitsha and the surrounding areas have been in vain.

Sigonyela works shifts and is often forced to find a person to look after her son when she goes to work.

She must then pay the person.

Awonke still uses nappies and requires regular feeding.

“It hurts to see my son all alone as he can’t walk or interact with other children of his age. I want my son to get a school where he can be helped with speech therapy to keep him busy,” she said.

Sigonyela said she does not feel well to see her child alone.

“Schools that deal with the situation of my child are very scarce. In his early stages we used to do check-ups at Tygerberg Hospital,” she said.

Sigonyela said she realised when her son was about 20 months that something was not “normal”.

“At first I did not want to accept it, but now I can see my child is different from other children. Other children are at school while he is here,” she said trying hard to hold tears.

“I am not happy with the area I stay in, because there are no pathways to move his wheelchair as shacks are tightly close to one another. I would appreciate it even if my son can stay at the school, then I come and pick him up on weekends,” said Sigonyela.

“I don’t want to lose him, or he forgets about him. I want him to know his mother, and that I love him,” she said.

She pleads with any Good Samaritan to help find a school for her child, so he can also live a normal life like any other child.

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