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
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.