The condition Professor Ncoza Dlova suspects Nduduzo is living with is a genetic disorder of the nervous system.
The disorder affects the growth and development of nerve cell tissue and is characterised by patches of tan or light brown skin and neurofibromas – soft, fleshy growths – on or under the skin.
Bones can be enlarged or deformed and curvature of the spine may also occur.
Occasionally, tumours may develop in the brain, on cranial nerves or on the spinal cord.
Learning disabilities occur in 50 to 75% of cases.
Neurofibromatosis can be inherited but no there is no family history of the condition in about 50% of cases. So it can arise spontaneously through a mutation or change in the genes. Once this change has taken place, the mutant gene can be passed on to future generations.
There is no cure for neurofibromatosis. Treatment – such as surgery to remove problematic growths – focuses on controlling symptoms. However, tumours often grow back.