By Delicious Mathuthu in Gweru
Shurugwi- A 25 year old man living with disability from Dorset resettlement area in Shurugwi South is desperately seeking assistance from government, civic society organisations and well-wishers to improve his dire living conditions as well as his family’s. Mduduzi Dube, who cannot walk or audibly speak, has never been afforded the opportunity to be educated in any way and is appealing for assistance for basic education and, instantly, a wheel chair to ease his mobility.
When this reporter visited the family’s homestead, it was a sorry site as he found the 25 year old man who lives with his parents, who are also vulnerable, all sheltered in a single dilapidated hut.His father Meki Dube said Mduduzi faces serious daily challenges as he can hardly talk or stand alone without aid.He said although Mduduzi can hear clearly, he cannot talk properly which was evidenced by his rapid mumbling response when one called his name.
The father said “My son Mduduzi is in a pathetic condition. The situation needs one to see in order to believe.I have no time to help fend for my family like other couples or families as I spend all my time caring for him. You have seen for yourself that he cannot walk or speak and for the past 25 years I have been nursing him, and have no time to engage in other productive activities like what others do,” said Dube.“I am appealing for a wheel chair as you have seen how he finds it difficult moving from one point to another crawling in this rocky and thorny area; it’s not easy,” he said tears visibly weltering in his eyes.
Mduduzi’s mother Khethiwe Sibanda (52 has mental health problems.When this reporter arrived at the homestead she locked herself in their only hut which they are sharing with their son.Mr Dube said the family is desperately in need of financial assistance especially to send Mduduzi to school if still possible.He said they also need decent accommodation and a blair toilet which is designed for people with disability.They also require clothes and blankets.
The Government’s Social Welfare department’s help that they are getting, as Dube says, is not enough to sustain them.Asked why he had not taken Mduduzi to appropriate schools, considering he is now 25 and has never been to school, Dube expressed ignorance saying he just thought with his son’s condition he was not fit to join others at school.He told The Gweru Times that he was recently inspired and challenged by a blind lawyer he heard speaking on radio encouraging all parents to take their disabled children to school to better their lives.
A close relative, who only asked to be identified as Tshelela, said they had tried as a family to take Mduduzi to Jairos Jiri Centre at a tender age but his parents refused .“I don’t know why government and donors fail to recognise people like Mduduzi.“There are many organisations which always assist our community, but l wonder why able people always benefit at the expense of the vulnerable,” Tshelela said.