never again

1 Christine Nxumalo her sister Virginia Machpelah

Jabulile Hlatshwayo & her late stepson Sizwe Hlatshwayo

“I still don’t know how my son died.”

Sizwe Hlatshwayo was epileptic and suffered very bad seizures. He was on special medication and needed 24-hour care. He could not speak or feed himself. But what Jabulile, his step-mother, remembers when she looks at this photograph, is how happy Sizwe was. How he loved to sing and dance. “When the drums started to beat, he would get up and dance.“

This photograph was taken on cultural day at Life Esidimeni Waverley, where he lived happily for 16 years.

“Oh I loved Sizwe with all my heart,” Jabulile says. “I had cared for him since he was three years old."

Without informing her, the government moved Sizwe to an NGO in Hammanskraal and then Anchor NGO, nearly 100 km from where Jabulile lives. He was moved without his medical records or ID book. When Jabulile found him, he was dirty, cold and unhappy. “I said to him ‘My boy, mommy will come and take you, so that we can go and stay home.’" She didn’t have enough taxi money to take him back with her that same day.

 But Jabulile  couldn’t keep her promise to Sizwe. On 3rd October she got a call from Anchor that Sizwe had passed away. She later found out that he had died three weeks before that.

“I lost a child who was kept at the mortuary for almost a month without me being informed. How are they expecting me to heal, when up to today I don’t  know how my son died? I want answers. I want people, like Qedani Mahlangu to pay for what they did.”