Groutville man stands up for disabled rights

Mthokozisi Dlamini preparing the soil for planting at the Luthuli Museum.

Mthokozisi Dlamini may suffer from a physical disability but that does not stop him from working tirelessly to improve the lives of his fellows.

The 47-year-old Groutville man felt it was his duty to stand up for disabled rights after witnessing shocking physical and emotional abuse and discrimination against the disabled in KwaDukuza.

“I grew up in Etete and Groutville and I have seen many disabled people being abused by their families, some treated like caged animals.

“There are cases where the disabled are locked in a room and kept there for days, sometimes not even given food. Then they are cleaned and dressed nicely once a month when it’s time to collect their grant,” said Dlamini.

Also read: Doing it for themselves

He said these are only some of the many challenges faced by the disabled.

In 2009 Dlamini formed the organisation Izwi Lika Jehova Community Support Centre with this in mind but has struggled to secure funding.

With the help of the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities KZN (ADP-KZN), he recently acquired wheelchairs for Joseph Ndlanzi and Sbusiso Sibiya in Groutville.

Mthokozisi Dlamini.

“I will always be grateful for the help I got from Dlamini and ADP-KZN. God bless them. Dlamini and I have a very good relationship and he is always looking out for disabled people who are in need of help. I wish him all the best,” said Ndlela.

Senamile Nene, a social worker at the ADP-KZN, said since their organisation was based in Durban, Dlamini helped them identify people to assist in KwaDukuza.

“Currently I am trying to get wheelchairs for those who need them, helping with disability grant registration and representing the disabled whenever there is a need at home affairs and clinics,” said Dlamini.

His dream is to start a skills development centre for the disabled, where they could be trained and given the opportunity to earn a living.

“I really hate it when people sympathise with us whenever we try to work for ourselves.

“I believe if the government could provide us with training and develop our skills I am sure most of us would be able to live a stable life without depending on the grant.”

Practicing what he preaches, Dlamini and fellow members of his organisation have started a vegetable garden at Chief Albert Luthuli Museum in Groutville.

“We were given permission to plant vegetables by the museum management and the vegetables we grow here, we both sell and donate to people in need.”

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  AUTHOR
Sboniso Dlamini
Journalist

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