A bed­side con­cert for a lit­tle fighter

Sanda Mat­shayana is fight­ing a rare dis­or­der and those around him are try­ing to make his bat­tle a lit­tle eas­ier

DRUM - - Contents - BY SIYABONGA KAMNQA PIC­TURES: ME­GAN MILLER

THE gospel tune Igama LeNkosi Liyasindisa (God’s Word Heals) by award- win­ning gospel star Lu­sanda Mcinga’s band is play­ing softly on a ra­dio as a nurse gives the lit­tle boy his med­i­ca­tion. Lu­sanda is the boy’s favourite singer. Hear­ing her mu­sic is one of the few things that can still put a smile on the face of Sanda Mat­shayana (12). So you can imag­ine his joy when the singer came to his hos­pi­tal ward re­cently and gave him a bed­side con­cert.

Sanda has short bowel syn­drome and doc­tors re­cently told his mother, Kayakazi Ma­co­zoma, there was lit­tle more they could do for him apart from keep­ing him com­fort­able.

Was there any­thing else that could ease the pain, staff at Life Vin­cent Pal­lotti Hos­pi­tal in Cape Town asked? Any wish he’d like ful­filled? Yes, he said – to see Lu­sanda per­form. Sanda is con­vinced prayer will help heal him, his mom says, and if he could get his idol to sing and pray for him per­haps he would have a chance.

When Bonginkosi Madik­izela, the Western Cape hu­man set­tle­ments MEC heard of Sanda’s wish, he spon­sored Lu­sanda’s trip from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town.

Stand­ing at the boy’s side, the star treated him to a few of his favourite tunes, much to the young pa­tient’s joy.

“Words can­not de­scribe how sad­dened I am to watch such a bright young boy suf­fer like this,” Lu­sanda tells us. “But we be­lieve in the power of prayer. We praise a miracle God and He is the one who will give the fi­nal an­swer.

“I ad­mire Sanda’s fight­ing spirit and that he knows his life is in the hands of the Almighty. I will con­tinue pray­ing for this young boy. His plight has re­ally touched me.”

THE past few months have been trau­matic for sin­gle mom Kayakazi (41), who is from Ng­cobo vil­lage in the Eastern Cape. Sipping a glass of wa­ter out­side the in­ten­sive care unit, she tells us how doc­tors de­liv­ered the news no par­ent wants to hear: her ter­mi­nally ill son didn’t have long to live.

“I’m dev­as­tated. I wish God could take me in­stead. He’s just a child who should have his whole life ahead of him. Why him? Why does he have to suf­fer like this?”

Sanda has al­ways been a sickly child, she says. He was born three months pre­ma­ture and has been in and out of hos­pi­tal all his life.

“Doc­tors told us his body wasn’t pro­duc­ing enough red blood cells,” Kayakazi says. “In 2005 he was taken to

the op­er­at­ing the­atre and doc­tors dis­cov­ered growths in his bowel and had to cut away the af­fected ar­eas.”

A few years later he was back in surgery to re­move more of his bowel. Sanda has had four ma­jor op­er­a­tions – now doc­tors are out of op­tions.

Kayakazi, who has an older son, Aphiwe (15), says Sanda tried to live a nor­mal life be­tween all the pro­ce­dures.

He loved go­ing to school at Eng­cobo Pri­mary School and “was such a smart boy”, his mom says. “His teach­ers all said he was a spe­cial child who loved his books. He wanted to be a doc­tor – in­stead he’s ly­ing here fight­ing for his life. It’s so un­fair.”

SANDA’S fam­ily is now try­ing to make sure as many of the boy’s wishes do come true. Along with see­ing Lu­sanda, an­other dream of his was to fly in an aero­plane. This was ful­filled when he was flown in a Net­care air­craft from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape shortly af­ter our visit to the hos­pi­tal.

He’s now back home, be­ing kept com­fort­able with med­i­ca­tion and be­ing cared for by his fam­ily.

Go­ing home was an­other of the lit­tle boy’s wishes and doc­tors in Cape Town re­luc­tantly agreed.

“I’m hop­ing the jour­ney back home, where he’ll be with his ex­tended fam­ily, will pro­vide some sort of heal­ing,” his mother says. “We just want to grant all his wishes and hope­fully that will help.”

On how she’s cop­ing, Kayakazi says, “I’m grate­ful for all the out­pour­ing mes­sages of sup­port we keep re­ceiv­ing. My heart is bleed­ing but I know I must be strong for my son’s sake.

“Some­times I’m over­come with emo­tion, but I don’t want to cry in front of him. I sneak out and go to the bath­room and cry.”

“His grand­par­ents are torn apart by this. I some­times avoid their calls be­cause I don’t want to hear them cry­ing. We are all hop­ing for a miracle.”

Ev­ery time Sanda closes his eyes, his mother fears for the worst.

“I can’t help think­ing that he might be clos­ing them for­ever.

“I don’t want my son to die,” the heart­bro­ken mom says. “Doc­tors are not God. I’ll never lose hope and will keep on pray­ing be­cause I know that God al­ways has a plan.”

MAIN and IN­SET: Now that Sanda’s so ill, his mom, Kayakazi, wants to ful­fill his fi­nal wishes. ABOVE: Be­tween surg­eries, he en­joys life like any other child – go­ing to school and hang­ing out with his brother, Aphiwe (TOP). RIGHT: MEC Bonginkosi Madik­izela (far right) was there when Lu­sanda Mcinga (sec­ond right) sang to the boy – his dream come true.

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