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Lord have mercy on this boy

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By MDUDUZI MAGAGULA - SWAZI TIMES-23-Aug-2009

EZULWINI—He lives like an animal, in fact he lives the life of a dog. He is not fed like a normal human being as his food is dished in a plate and placed outside next to him and due to the fact that he can’t move his limbs, he feeds with his mouth like an

EZULWINI—He lives like an animal, in fact he lives the life of a dog. He is not fed like a normal human being as his food is dished in a plate and placed outside next to him and due to the fact that he can’t move his limbs, he feeds with his mouth like an animal.

He competes with dogs for the food which he rarely receives from his step-mother. His growth is stunted and he is disabled.

During the day, he sits outside his family flat in full exposure to rain and the cold on his own with no one looking after him. He has survived the worst cold winter days, fierce storms and hot days on that spot, which is a couple of metres from the rented flat where his parents live.

Neighbours are wondering how he has managed to survive for the 11 years he has lived due to the miserable life he is made to live.

When we paid him a visit this week, he was found sitting outside alone and he was very dirty. Judging from the white hunger line in his mouth, he was starving and thirsty.

There were dogs that were feasting on his waste which was spread on the lower parts of his body and there are fears that one day the dogs would not just clean him up but will just eat him as he is not in a position to defend himself due to his disability.

We arrived at his home at about 5pm and we found him sitting in his usual spot, outside in the open. There were children who were playing a distance away from him in the yard and were oblivious of his presence.

He was half naked and next to him were two plates, which according to neighbours had not been filled with food on that day. There was also an old blanket which was placed on the ground next to him and we were told he used it whenever the temperatures got worse.

This is the sad story of 11-year- old France Khumalo, who was dumped by his mother at the Mbabane bus rank about five years ago. His father was working at the Mbabane bus rank—as a kombi driver.

However, his father is no longer employed now as he was recently fired from his job of being a bus rank marshal. His step-mom is not employed either and she spends almost all her time inside the house mentoring her one-year-old child, while the disabled France lives outside with the dogs.

When we arrived at the homestead, his step-mother was comfortably babysitting her one- year-old child. When we asked about France, she said, "I have tried everything for him and now I do not know what to do."

She said she suggested to her boyfriend that France should be taken to his boyfriend’s parents but the boyfriend refused.

"I told him to take the child to his biological mother and again he turned me down," she said.

She also said she had now lost hope with the child and was waiting for God to decide France’s fate because she had tried everything to save his life but all efforts have failed.

"There were times when he got sick, I took him to hospital and they turned me back, telling me that I should tell his mother to bring him," she said.

She explained that it was due to this reason that whenever he got sick, she did not take him to the clinic any more but whatever sickness he suffer with, healed itself. France is in desperate need for shelter, food and clothes.

Readers are invited to contribute either financially or materialistic to save France.

If you are touched by France’s plight, please call the Times SUNDAY Editor or the Reporter at 404 2211. Or send an email to sundayeditor@times.co.za, sunday@times.co.sz


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