never again

Vinolia Mosalo and her late mother Mameisi Sinah Mosalo

Vinolia Mosalo and her late mother Mameisi Sinah Mosalo

In only a nightdress

Vinolia loves this photograph. It was taken on her wedding day. The 25th November of 2015. Her mother is in her wheelchair. “We were all so happy,” she remembers. “Mom loved my husband David, he could really make her laugh.”

Mameisi Sina Mosalo worked at Interparks as a manager and as a cleaner at Home affairs in Pretoria. But around 2003 she started experiencing mental problems, including suffering from memory loss. She was diagnosed with dementia. She moved in with her daughter but it was a very difficult time. Vinolia couldn’t afford full-time care. One day her mom went out and they didn’t notice. They later found her at the station in Atteridgeville, an hour away from their house. 

Vinolia was then admitted to Life Esidimeni Waverly where she stayed from 2013 until June 2016. 

“I visited her frequently and she was always happy to see me and her grandchildren. She did lots of activities there and she especially liked doing the beadwork. She made beautiful necklaces.”

Then Vinolia received an sms from the Department of Health that her mother was being transferred to an NGO called Tshepong.

“I visited her at Tshepong two days after she had been transferred and the conditions were bad,” Vinolia says. “My mom asked me if I had brought her some food. She was very hungry.”

“About two days after my first visit, I received a phone call from one of the employees, Catherine, who works there and lives near me. She told me that my mother did not have any warm clothes or a blanket. It was winter and she had been moved wearing only a thin nightdress. It was all she had. I took some warm jackets and blankets to her. Catherine  also told me to bring diapers, because they were using plastic bags for the patients!”

Then above a week later, Vinolia received a call from Catherine to say her mother was sick. “I was told that she was not responding to the medication she was on. I asked if she was on the same medication she was getting at Life Esidimeni.”

Catherine told Vinolia, she did not know because they had not received any medical files from Life Esidimini and there was no doctor to talk to at the NGO. 

Mameisi’s health then deteriorated very quickly. She was finally moved to Leratong Hospice and died on 18 July 2016. She was only 60 years old. The cause of death is listed in her death certificate as natural causes. 

“Motsoaledi, the Minister of Health says he doesn’t know how this happened. How can that be? He was the person at the top? Why did they do this? I want to know what really happened to my mother,”  says Vinolia.