Woman refuses to leave her damaged home

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kliptown house Independent Newspapers Nomalizo Manzana, left, Ntombomzi Manzana and Maureen Khumalo huddle in the house to keep away from the rain, which led to a walls collapse. Picture: Sharon Seretlo

Johannesburg - A 61-year-old woman would rather sleep in a house with no wall, on wet blankets, than abandon her belongings.

Nomalizo Manzana, whose surname translates as “a small amount of water”, has lived in Kliptown, Soweto, for more than nine years. Last weekend, the wall of her house collapsed because of the rain.

“I was sleeping and I heard people calling my name. I thought I was being called to heaven, but when I woke up, I realised it was bright in the house. That’s when I saw that the wall was gone,” she said, laughing dryly. “They were calling me because they saw that my wall was missing.”

She sat on a bucket with a wooden plank on it, looking out at the small mountain of bricks, and recalled what happened. “I’m lucky it fell the other way.”

Manzana sleeps in the house because she’s afraid the “nyaope-smoking boys” will steal her things and sell them if she leaves.

“I sleep in my coat with the wet blankets because I have no way to dry them. I’m at the lowest point of Kliptown, so all the water comes down from Pimville.”

She lives with her four children and two grandchildren.

Maureen Khumalo had come to help Manzana, her sister, on Tuesday and was furious with the state

of the house. “And they say we must vote. The mayors here said it will get fixed after the elections. Do you know how far the elections are? They’re living the life, waking up with hamburgers for breakfast,” said the enraged 51-year-old.

“We want Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to see how we’re living. She said women mustn’t suffer, but where is she now? They want someone to die first before they do something. They keep promising us a home and we keep voting, but there’s no change

.”

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