New houses in Nkomazi, Tzaneen and King Williams Town
– Johan Viljoen, April 2012
Kindermissionswerk (Germany) granted SACBC AIDS Office funding to support the building of two –roomed houses in several dioceses for children orphaned by AIDS, soms of them living in child-headed households.
In Inkomazi (Diocese of Witbank), ten houses have been completed. In addition, 5 houses have been built in Tzaneen, 2 have been completed in King Williams Town (Diocese of Port Elizabeth) and 1 has been completed at Maria Ratschitz Mission (Dundee Diocese).
The Diocese of Tzaneen borders on Zimbabwe to the north, and Mozambique to the east. Because of its geographic location, it has absorbed vast numbers of Zimbabwean refugees – many of whom are orphans, unmarried HIV positive women looking after orphans, or elderly grandparents looking after them. Because they are not South African citizens, they cannot access social services from the South African government.
Geneva Mahlo is an Aids orphan, who lived in a shack (barely 3 meters X 3 meters) built from plastic, with her six siblings. She was one of the first beneficiaries to receive a house in a rural village outside the town of Tzaneen. The photographs below show Geneva’s original shack, the building of her new house, and then her new house after completion:
This is what Geneva herself has to say:
‘I was staying in a shack on the top of the mountain, we struggled to do everything. There was no water, no electricity. There were wild animals and we were afraid. The sisters helped us with food and also helped to rent a house for us. We were happy for a while as we were a family together. But we had a dream of owning our own house, because since our mother died we had suffered. No one welcomed us. If they did help they expected something in return.
When the sisters told me that they had applied for me to have a house, I did not believe it, until I went one day to the stand, with Sr. Anita and I found the people building.
The first night we slept there everybody was happy. We now have peace. We are not worried about what will happen tomorrow. If one dies at least we have a home where we can achieve our goals and dreams.
Thank you to everyone in helping us to have peace.’
Puli is an orphan. She lives in a two-room shack, occupying one room with her 3-year old son. Her grandmother lives in the other room. She has two teenage brothers, who are staying in an orphanage. They want to return to the family but there is no room with granny or the older sister. They can return now that there is a new house. All are attending school and want to be enrolled together at the same one in 2012.
‘I just want to tell you that I am very happy with the building that you have built for me. I appreciate it and I love it. May God bless you and your families.
I am 19 years old and I have two brothers, Gift and Brian. I have a little boy and his name is Bright, he is 3 years.’
The Nkomazi District is where the first five houses for AIDS orphans were built with Kindermissionswerk funding. Since submission of the first report, a further five houses have been completed, bringing the total to ten.
Florida Simba is an orphan. Her parents were Mozambican refugees, who passed away. The picture below shows Florida sitting in front of the shack that she used to live in:
The picture above shows the new house, nearly completed, that has been built for Florida with Kindermissionswerk funding.
Below is a letter written by Florida in Zulu, followed by a translation in English:
Translation into English
Hello. It’s me Florida Simba who is humbling herself.
I would like to express what is in my heart.
I would like to thank you for a house that you have built at home.
I would also like to thank the organisation, I just don’t have words to express what I feel.
I wish we could work together and continue to do good works.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Bye.
Mrs Ngomane lives in the Nkomazi village of Vlakbult. She herself came as a refugee from Mozambique. She is looking after four orphans – children of her deceased sister. She has a birth defect – she was born with only one arm, and is therefore unable to work to support the orphans. None of them can get disability or orphan grants, because they are “illegal aliens”.
She is delighted with her new house. With the 2500 litre rain water tank, she will even be able to plant a vegetable garden, thereby for the first time being able to provide for herself and the four orphans.
Mrs Khoza also came to South Africa as a refugee from the Mozambican civil war during the 1990’s. She lives in the village of Langloop, in the Nkomazi District. She looks after the two orphaned children of her deceased sister.
King Williams Town
King Williams Town is situated in Eastern Cape Province – the province with the lowest per capita income and the highest unemployment rate in South Africa. The province contains two former Apartheid era “Bantustans” – barren areas where black people were forcefully removed to in the 1960’s and 70’s – namely Transkei and Ciskei. The King Williams Town orphan project is building houses for orphans in the former Ciskei. Two have been completed to date. Both are situated in Kwalini Village. Both cases involve orphan-headed households – the one household’s surname is Zonke, and the other household’s surname is Sunduza. Each household consists of three orphaned siblings. In both cases all the orphans are still at primary school. In South Africa scholars start high school at the age of 13. This means that the oldest sibling in each of these two cases, and therefore the “head of the family”, is younger than 13.