17/12/2015 Minister of Internationla Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane shows Johana Munyai (89) her new furnished home in Winterveld.
Picture: Phill Magakoe
17/12/2015 Minister of Internationla Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane shows Johana Munyai (89) her new furnished home in Winterveld. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Joy as blind gogo gets a home

By SAKHILE NDLAZI Time of article published Dec 18, 2015

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“I wish I could see what my new house looks like, even if it’s just for a second,” said happy granny Johana Monyai after receiving the keys to her new dwelling, courtesy of the Department of International Relations.

The loss of sight for the 89-year-old from Winterveld has been a painful experience that resulted in a complicated life which led her to feeling forgotten by locals.

According to Monyai, life has dealt her numerous blows, from losing her six children and her husband to losing her eyesight, and living in dire conditions while raising her five grandchildren.

Her health has also been deteriorating over the years making basic house chores a battle.

“Through all my hardships I choose to remain positive for the sake of my grandchildren.

“They need me to be strong for them,” an emotional Monyai said at the handing over ceremony.

Monyai had been living in a two-room mud house where she slept on the hard, cold floor.

The grimy house didn’t have enough ventilation and as a result it was dark and dingy.

The dilapidated sheets of corrugated iron used for the roof had holes in them.

Huge boulders and plastic bags were used to keep the roof stable.

On top of that, the structure of the house was sinking deeper into the ground because of the weak foundation.

They prepared meals on the floor as they had no stove or table.

Monyai also had a tough time walking to the toilet outside and at times had to crawl to the toilet to avoid bumping into objects.

It was during Mandela Day that International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane got first hand experience of the Monyai household’s struggles.

During a 67 minutes Mandela Day visit to Winterveld, Nkoana-Mashabane said she was sorely touched by the poor living conditions and vowed that the department would build a fully furnished house for the Monyai family.

“A house is more than just a structure it gives a sense of dignity and affords her a personal space to have her privacy,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

Addressing locals and neighbours the minister said the elderly are the nation’s priority citizens and need all the love and care they can get.

The Monyais are now the proud owners of a two-bedroomed home with a kitchen, shower and dining room. The house is fully furnished with couches and beds. The family were also given a stove, fridge and groceries to last three months plus blankets.

Her granddaughter, Tshegofatso Monyai, 13, said that it is the best Christmas present they have ever received.

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The Star

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