Johannesburg – Boy Mohedo is over a century in age, but on Thursday night, for the first time after waiting for over 20 years for a house, he slept like a baby in his new furnished home in Nigel, Ekurhuleni.
The 101-year-old Mohedo and his elderly partner and their three grandchildren, slept in a warm comfortable bed and not in the rat infested shack they had lived in for over two decades.
The family, which had been on number 2 440 on the Ekurhuleni’s housing list, received their furnished house with access to running water and electricity after a donation from AfriBiz Invest and the Collen Mashawana Foundation.
The organisations delivered two other similar houses in Soshanguve to similarly destitute families, all headed by the elderly.
The organisations came to the rescue of Mohedo and his partner, Johanna Nsibande, who they support with three grandchildren, when the old man made an appeal in the media.
Premier David Makhura tweeted: "I’m happy to announce that Mkhulu Boy Mohedo’s plea for a house has been answered. On this Mandela Day we handed over his newly built house in Nigel, Ekurhuleni. A big thank you to AfriBizInvest and team for making it possible," he said, calling on people to ‘be the legacy’.
I’m happy to announce that Mkhulu Boy Mohedo’s plea for a house has been answered. On this #MandelaDay we handed over his newly built house in Nigel, Ekurhuleni. A big thank you to @AfribizInvest and team for making it possible. A fulfilling day indeed. #BeTheLegacy pic.twitter.com/6ry4Asm38i
— David Makhura (@David_Makhura) July 18, 2019
Speaking to IOL on Thursday, a joyous Nsibande said she was ecstatic for her partner Mohedo.
“I don’t know what to say, I wish I had wings so I could fly. When you are sleeping in the shack it is really cold, I cannot thank these young men enough for what they have done. I only wish that all old people like us can get a chance to live in houses like this before they die,” she said.
Nsibande said they had been waiting for a house from the government since 1997 after they arrived in Ekurhuleni from the rural areas and settled in an informal settlement.
“The conditions in the informal settlement were not good,” she recalled.
“The rats in the informal settlement were the size of my foot, they were eating our furniture breaking everything,” she decried.
Nsibande said they tried to kill the rats in various ways, but they remained a problem. She said snakes were common in their shack settlement and they often encountered them, especially in summer.
“You know uBaba (the old man) is like a child now, he can barely walk or do anything for himself, so I have to feed him, bath him and do everything for him, I take care of him and the grandchildren,” she said.
Nsibande said the couple survived on their pension grants and they supported two children who were in school and a third, who was disabled, lived at home with them.
“Today we are very happy, we want to say thank you, we are going to sleep well and maybe our dreams are going to be better now, I can’t believe it. I am also glad because also the grandchildren are so happy about the new home, may God bless these young people, thank you,” she said.
Makhura was part of volunteers who was seen painting donated houses on Thursday, during Mandela Day.
Collen Mashawana, the executive chairperson of the AfriBiz Invest consortium, said the company had committed to building 30 houses this year. The houses built on Thursday, took their tally for the year to 14. Last year, they donated 15 houses.
“Let us all be consistent, we don’t have to wait for Mandela Day to make a difference in people’s lives. For us, everyday is a Mandela Day. We can’t solve the problems in the community on our own, so we call on others in the private sector and corporations to make a plan, work with us.
“Bidvest has been donating the solar geysers for all the houses we are building. If you can come in and give furniture, clothes or blankets, come on, let us make it a collective effort to make the lives of people better, we can all make a difference,” he said.