Destitute brothers just want to be educated

Brothers, Khaya ans Philasande Ntsumpula need all the help they can get to go back to school.
Brothers, Khaya ans Philasande Ntsumpula need all the help they can get to go back to school.

Two Lusikisiki brothers often go without food in their crumbling mud home, yet all they want is a good education so they can find employment and provide for themselves.     

Khaya and Philasande Ntsumpula are orphans who never know where their next meal will come from.

Khaya, 19, dropped out of school last year in Grade 8.

Just as he had scraped enough money together to buy a pair of trousers for school his shoes fell apart, he said.

“All I want is to go back to school so I can become a traffic officer.”

Philasande, 20, said: “I find small jobs so we can eat. Life  is hard for us. Sometimes we go to bed hungry and start the following day on empty stomachs.”

The mud structure in which they live in Hombe village, Lusikisiki, leaks constantly.

Philasande is still at school but, like Khaya, the uniform is a big challenge.

He wrote his Grade 11 exams in 2019, and will find out whether he has advanced to matric next week when schools reopen.

He has not received his marks yet, but believes he has done well.

The brothers’ mother died when they were young, and their father took his own life in 2018.

“Sometimes I lose concentration at school because of hunger," he said. 

“But I will see to it that I pass matric. I will go on to study civil engineering and better our lives.”

Both brothers have a burning desire to be educated.

“I love school and my brother does too.

“We both want to go to school but food, uniforms and a proper home are serious challenges.

“Sometimes we go out and work odd jobs. Sometimes we ask our neighbours to assist.”

Their late father, who had lived with them in the mud home, had applied for an RDP house, the brothers said, adding that they struggled financially even when their father was still alive.  

“Ward committees and a councillor came to our home.

“The councillor took our information but nothing has come of that,” Philasande said.

There does appear to be some hope, however. Learning of their plight on Thursday, social development department spokesperson Gcobani Maswana said the department would send a social worker to assess the situation.

“By tomorrow [Friday], they should get food parcels.

“In that family, we need a change agent.

“We are going to intervene and see what we can do.

“The fact that they still want to go to school is a positive thing,” Maswana told the Dispatch. “We are going to walk with the family.”

Human settlements spokesperson Masiza Mazizi said MEC Nonkqubela Pieters had instructed senior officials in the OR Tambo region to visit the family by Monday.

“The Ntsumpula family in Lusikisiki is in the category of child-headed families,” he said.

“The officials have been instructed to work with the departments of social development, education and other relevant departments in the region, as well as OR Tambo and Ngquza municipalities.

“The purpose of the intervention is not only providing a house but also to invite other departments to come on board and assist as the situation requires,” Pieters said.

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