BRIEF | EAST LONDON 

Wheelchair for grandmother trapped in her shack

After years as a virtual prisoner in her home, 72-year-old Beauty Qamata can breathe fresh air again

Photo of a woman in her wheelchair with her grandson standing behind her
Beauty Qamata in her wheelchair with her grandson Chumani Qamata. Photo: Mbulelo Sisulu
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Two weeks ago, GroundUp told the story of 72-year-old Beauty Qamata who lost her legs to diabetes and for years has spent her days alone and trapped in her shack in Bacawa informal settlement near Mdantsane, East London. She has no running water, no electricity and no toilet.

A few years ago she hired someone to look after her, but after a while she found she could not afford it. Her only income is her social grant and she frequently has to borrow money.

A number of readers responded to the article offering financial and other assistance, and Cell C has now donated a wheelchair, ten bags of nappies and a supermarket voucher of R3,000.

“For the first time after many years living inside the shack, today it’s like I am dreaming when I feel fresh air outside,” Qamata told GroundUp. “My grandson, Chumani, is going to use this wheelchair when I want to sit outside the shack. These nappies are going to last me for a long time.” She said she needed help getting into and out of the wheelchair, and help getting outside the shack because the doorway was small, but once outside she could move around without assistance.

Thanks to the voucher, she said she could use her grant money to pay back the people she owes.

“I am not going to take money again from loan sharks,” she said.

Her grandson, Chumani Qamata, 22, said life was not easy in his home. “There were times where food, nappies and paraffin used to end before the date of social grant [payment]. So, granny had to send me to people to borrow money. There were times where we used to go to bed with empty stomachs,” he said.

Cell C corporate sustainability senior manager Boni Dlamini said when Cell C read about Qamata’s plight, the company decided to help. 

GroundUp is happy to provide information when readers wish to help the people featured in our stories, but we cannot take responsibility for any donations or transactions that result from this. We are a news organisation. We do not provide social welfare services, and to avoid conflicts of interest, we cannot manage any fundraisers.

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