Ten-year-old disabled Mandu Tjipofa uses a stick to get around the mountainous areas of Ruacana. He puts the stick between two of his toes and he uses it to hop around for mobility.
Although he readily admits to having slipped many times he says he has always been careful not to fall down and when his stick breaks, “I always get a new one,” he says confidently.
However, his situation remains worrisome, as Mandu depends on the stick to get around his home village, to get to school, fetch water in the mountainous rocks, as well as to herd livestock at times.His guardian, Mumawe Ngolo, said the boy did not have any disability at birth. He related that Mandu became disabled a few years ago when he was pricked by a thorn in his knee.
He was taken to hospital where his leg was put in plaster; he later received a crutch, which is no longer fit for use, thus compelling the industrious youth to replace it with a stick.
Ngolo said his nephew received the crutch a few years ago at the Outapi District Hospital. “He had a crutch which was easier to use, especially in this area where it is rocky, but the crutch is too short for him now,” he said.
Ngolo said they are currently looking for means to get him back to the hospital to find out if the boy can get a new crutch. His uncle says a new crutch will give Mandu much-needed mobility around the area.