TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY Disabled Caregiver of a child-headed family graduates
Born in Mpumalanga, Mr Sipho Sonnyboy Malinga became disabled at age six after an unknown condition left his fingers and feet deformed.
Despite his disability, Malinga refused to be enrolled at a special needs school. After several applications, he was finally accepted into mainstream school at age 11. However, the excitement of entering school quickly evaporated when he lost his parents who passed on a few years apart while he was still in primary school. Later when Malinga’s aunt and grandmother passed away, he assumed the responsibility of caring for his four younger siblings.
“When our parents died, as the eldest, I instantly stepped into the role. I vowed to create a better life for me and my siblings.” Over the years, Malinga provided for his siblings using his disability grant.
He matriculated at age 22 and in 2015 he secured a full bursary from the Mpumalanga Education Department to study for an education degree at the University of Fort Hare.
“I left my siblings with my disability grant card and got onto a bus to East London. It was a painful moment then, but today I can say it was the start towards a better future. Now I celebrate my graduation with them.”
To this day, Malinga refuses to allow his current circumstance to determine his future. He says he lives by his late mother’s words: “Son, you must learn to be independent because you do not know how people will treat you when I am no longer with you.”
Malinga looks forward to a career as a Teacher.