Cape Times

The doctors cautioned me I would not have children


he received schooling at the hospital school.

“He arrived from the then Transkei and was living in an informal settlement, and he was kept in the hospital where he lived for the next three years,” he said.

He was presented at Karl Bremer Hospital in 1974 with severe high blood pressure, “which was difficult to control and he ended up with a bilateral nephrectom­y in order to control this malignant blood pressure”.

“We had difficulty with his blood vessels and haemodialy­sis, but this was eventually overcome by good vascular surgery,” Oosthuizen said.

Genu, who is currently a teacher at Phingilili Junior Secondary School in Bityi Village near Mthatha, has not only lived long, but miraculous­ly he also fathered five children after his transplant.

“The doctors cautioned me that I would not have children as the immuno suppressan­ts that I took to avoid the rejection of the kidney could damage my sperm and make me infertile. So when I had my first child you can imagine the shock I had… I was even suspicious that this could not be my child. It was in 1986 that my eldest daughter was born… after that six more children were born, but two have since died so I have a total of five children. They are my miracle children… they give a reason to live,” he said.

Any secret why he has lived so long?

Genu believes that looking after his health and avoiding a bad lifestyle such as drinking, smoking and staying away from certain drugs has contribute­d to his long life after the transplant.

“I’m feeling great. I’ve never touched alcohol in my life and other medicines that would cause strain to my kidneys. Even though I have since developed gout and diabetes as a result of the medication that I’m using, I don’t have any problems with my kidney. It functions 130%,” he said.

Apart from his teaching job, Genu says he has also become a transplant ambassador in his community, and encourages the black African community to look at transplant­s and organ donation differentl­y, and not as taboo.

“The kidney transplant saved my life. I am now the father of five children, and I’m able to support them emotionall­y and financiall­y – thanks to the transplant. Imagine if the number of donors would increase, the number of lives saved would be tremendous.”

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