1 June 2017
Dr Babalwa Funda KaMabhoza is a lecturer at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Tshwane. She is also a dentist, business woman and sexologist. GPS News met KaMabhoza during an exclusive dinner at Flycatcher Castle in Graskop on May, 14. She organised the event for Ontlametse Phalatse and Beandri Booysen, the only two people in South Africa identified with a rare condition called Progeria. This condition reverses the natural process of ageing. Ontlametse passed away in April.
KaMabhoza is passionate about issues affecting the marginalised members of society. She lost her right eye after a car accident and it was one of the most traumatic moments of her life. Subsequently her open heart became a refuge for children and differently abled people.
“I met Ontlametse when she came in for a tooth extraction early in 2016,” explained KaMabhoza. “I immediately liked her because I love beautiful souls. At first she was very cheeky and easily irritated. I did some research on her condition and became aware that she didn’t have a long time to live. Luckily, we met again on Christmas day and I asked her to make a wish list which included holidays, spa treatment and a meeting with the President. I organised for her to meet the President and for a massage.”
“I later met Beandri who was best friends with Ontlametse. Beandri is also a beautiful soul. I called Manie Connoway and asked to host a dinner at his Flycatcher Castle, which he agreed to. I let Beandri take control of the event because she was very close to Ontlametse. It was a way to make her feel good and enjoy herself. It was sad that Ontlametse wasn’t present, but we had to go on because that’s what she would’ve wanted.”
“I see myself as a differently abled person, I’m not my body. My experiences with Ontlametse, and now recently with Beandri, taught me that I’m not an island; the darkness is not the end of the world. I’ve learnt that we have to focus on our strengths. We must also notice the pain that our family members go through when we keep problems to ourselves. My mother offered her eye so that I can be normal again because she saw that I was depressed. That was the turning point; she wanted me to feel normal again. I’ve also learnt to appreciate my own daughter more, I call her mama, because children choose us, they are our teachers,” concluded KaMabhoza.
Image: From left: Manie Connoway of Flycatcher Castle, Babalwa Funda KaMabhoza and Beandri Booysen.