Amputee gets new leg thanks to Victoria Falls residents

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter

MAYIBONGWE Mabhena (28) says life has been tough for the past five years as she struggled to walk due to a broken artificial leg.

Mabhena was amputated when she was 18 months old after she fell into a fire at her rural home in Jambezi outside Victoria Falls. Her parents had left her unattended in a hut and she crawled into a fireplace. 

She spent three days without being attended to at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo as doctors were on strike. 

The clothes she had been wearing were still stuck on her burnt right leg.

When she was finally operated on, all the skin on the right leg peeled off with the burnt clothes and only the bone remained. The doctors recommended amputating the leg. Although she was still an infant, she is aware of how negligence led to her leg being amputated.

Mabhena attended Chinotimba Primary School and was using crutches. She then proceeded to Mosi-oa-Tunya High School. Mabhena continued to use the crutches until she was in Form Two when a well-wisher donated an artificial leg. When she was 16 years old, in 2010, Mosi-oa-Tunya High School authorities bought her a new an artificial leg.

The artificial leg got damaged in 2017 and it is now shorter than the left leg.

Mabhena got married to Goliath Phiri in 2015 and they have two kids aged six and two.

“I was not deformed when I was born but got amputated when I was 18 months old They said they found me on fire and they took me to Mpilo but unfortunately doctors were on strike. When they removed the clothes, all flesh peeled off. They cut my leg three times and each time the doctors were making a mistake as they left bones protruding,” said Mabhena.

Mayibongwe Mabhena and some doctors from Livingstone, Zambia

She said after completing her Ordinary Level in 2012, she got a few menial jobs. She and her husband had since 2017 been struggling to replace the artificial leg which was making it difficult for her to walk or do her daily chores.

Mabhena sells curios and other artefacts at Elephant Walk in Victoria Falls while her husband makes a living by playing marimba for tourists.

A few months ago, Frederick Mafira started a campaign to mobilise money for Mabhena to get a new artificial leg in Zambia.

Mafira is father to Zimbabwe’s only blade runner, amputee Pride Mafira who also recently got a replacement for his leg in South Africa.

Through a WhatsApp group he opened on behalf of Mabhena, Mafira appealed for donations. Victoria Falls residents responded and raised the required US$500 for the artificial leg which was bought in Livingstone, Zambia.

“The leg had become short and not stable and was causing me a lot of pain. I was struggling to raise money for a new artificial leg since 2017 when it started giving me problems. I want to thank the Victoria Falls community for helping me. I am happy because I can now go back to work and do my household chores without challenges. I suffered because I was failing to raise the required money,” said Mabhena. 

She said she was also grateful to Mafira for taking the initiative to fundraise on her behalf.

“I also want to thank my husband who during the period I was facing challenges took good care of me by doing household chores. He understands my situation and stands by me,” said Mabhena. — @ncubeleon

Article Source: The Chronicle

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