The sun burst out for an elderly woman in a crumbling mud house on Saturday when members of a local church brought her food and “adopted her”.
No-Even Twani, 79, of Xhamini village in Tsholomnqa near Kidd’s Beach, west of East London, occupies the dilapidated home with her daughter and grandchild.
After hearing about her plight, members of the Anglican Church’s St Barnabas, led by Sindiswa Mcitakali, went to Twani’s house and were shocked to see the conditions she was living in.
“There’s no elderly person, especially a woman, who can live in such squalor.
“This woman has been admitted to a TB hospital where she recently spent five months and now she is back in the same damp conditions. This woman has no one to help her, hence we have adopted her,” said Mcitakali.
Along with the church’s mothers union, Mcitakali sent out a call for help. They collected groceries for an emergency hamper to at least give the family something to eat while they try to organise more permanent support for her.
Fellow congregant Norah Babana said they had identified another eight families in the area who were just as destitute.
“We need to help these people but we can do little, hence we call on all those who have the means to join us in changing these lives.”
Seven other families benefited from the weekend initiative.
“There’s just no security in her house and she deserves better than this,” said Babana.
She said a social grant did not provide for everything.
“This is a challenge to authorities to look at her case. Where is an RDP house for her at least,” asked Babana.
Twani told the Dispatch she was grateful for the support. “I wanted the world to know my plight but had no one to help me,” she said.
Her neighbour Nowezile Gawuliswazi said she lies awake worrying about Twani and her family when the weather is bad. “It’s painful. There are many people who are suffering but we can’t let our elderly die in squalor.
“Her mud structure was built around 1980. Can’t someone have a heart and build her a house? Her dream is that when she dies she can leave her children in a proper house,” said Gawuliswazi.