In this file picture, Mpho Mathibela meets with former president Nelson Mandela and Achmat Dangor, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2007. It had always been her wish to meet Mandela. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA
In this file picture, Mpho Mathibela meets with former president Nelson Mandela and Achmat Dangor, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2007. It had always been her wish to meet Mandela. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

NW premier sends condolences to family of Siamese twin Mpho Mathibela

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Aug 13, 2021

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Johannesburg - North West Premier Job Mokgoro has conveyed a message of condolence to the Mathibela family following the passing of Mpho Mathibela last week.

Mpho was one half of South Africa’s Siamese twins and she and her late sister Mphonyana were joined at the head and shared a major vessel carrying blood to the brain, a section of skull and a large amount of brain tissue.

In May 1988, the twins underwent a complicated seven-hour operation by a 40-member medical team at Chris Hani Academic Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg to separate them.

They both survived the operation, but Mphonyana died a year later of pneumonia while Mpho was left brain damaged.

Mokgoro said it was reported that Mpho, 34, died at Tshepong Hospital after she was admitted on Monday August 2.

Mokgoro said that the successful operation of the Mathibela twins demonstrated medical excellence in the South African medical fraternity.

“This operation held the country and the world in awe. We will forever cherish the good memories associated with Mpho, whose resilience over the years has stood out as an inspirational quality she possessed,” remared Mokgoro.

Mokgoro further commended councillors in the Matlosana Local Municipality for providing much needed support to the Mathibela family.

In 2007, Mpho met former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.

“I’ve seen him in newspaper pictures before. I’m happy to have met Tata Madiba,” she said with a shy smile at the time.

Mandela shook the young woman’s hand and said he was happy to have met her in front of journalists at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton.

Maggie Nkwe from the Mathibela Trust – which was formed by the Sowetan newspaper when the girls were born – said it had always been Mpho’s wish to meet Mandela and they arranged the meeting as her 21st birthday gift.

IOL

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