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BHUNYA – Desperate! This best describes the situation of a Mabuza family of Bhunya at KaZondwako area, which has seven people sharing one room.
Sibongile Mabuza, who is a single mother of five and two grandchildren, shared her struggles at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

She said she was unemployed and put food on the table through cutting lukhwane and selling it in Manzini.
She said the problem was that her business was classified as non-essential hence she couldn’t travel to Manzini to sell her product.
“Since the initial partial lockdown was announced, I have been struggling to provide for my family because I am unemployed I only rely on selling my cuttings (lukhwane) but I can’t do that anymore because it is not an essential service,” she narrated.


Mabuza said she had five children but she didn’t know the whereabouts of her firstborn.
“I stay with five of my children and two grandchildren. The last-born is doing Form I at a local high school and I struggle paying her fees,” she said.
Mabuza said her husband died in 2017, succumbing to liver cancer after a long struggle and she was now the breadwinner.

The closure of the national care point (lidladla) also made life more difficult for the family as the children would go eat their lunch at the soup kitchen but due to the prevailing situation, it had to close down.

“It is tough times for us. Recently we were rescued by a community police member who donated mealie- meal to us and we have been utilising that otherwise the situation is very tough,” she said. Mabuza said before the death of her husband, they used to reside at Lundzi, her marital home, but she was allegedly kicked out of her marital home by her in-laws after the death of her husband, due to personal family matters.

“We used to have enough land to farm while at Lundzi and life was not as difficult but the death of my husband brought nothing but misery to my family. We had to relocate but unfortunately we don’t have enough land to grow crops and vegetables here, it is not easy at all,” she said.
Mabuza said as far as the outbreak of the coronavirus was concerned, her family was at great risk because they shared a one-room house and they couldn’t adhere to social distancing.


She said her greatest worry was that some of her children travelled to Bhunya to look for temporary jobs to to be able to buy food for the family and they were exposed.

“We also don’t have access to water but have to travel about a kilometre to fetch water. We understand that we have to constantly wash our hands with soap and water but we can’t do that given that it’s a hustle to get the water. We also wish we can get the reusable face masks but we can’t afford them hence our lives are in danger,” she said.

The 49-year-old said she was hopeful that government would come to their rescue with food assistance as it was the case in other countries.
Social Protection Chairman Khanya Mabuza had previously stated that government was planning to make food distributions to the most vulnerable but they were still assessing the situation to determine who needed the aid the most.

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