Lydia Taziyevi (34) lost her son in 2008, before she fled Zimbabwe for a new life in South Africa. She spoke to AAISHA DADI PATEL about her fears for her young daughter’s health.
I’ve built a new life for myself here in South Africa, but I miss my home. In the 2008 elections my cousin spoke out against Zanu-PF and they beat him to death. So many people died. Some of them were even set on fire. Zanu-PF burnt them. Even though I miss my country, I can’t live like that.
I lost my son in Zimbabwe. He’s buried there. He was seven years old. He used to have a lot of health problems. He used to scream and cry all the time, and was always in pain. But when I went to the clinic, they never knew what was wrong with him. One day, my son got very sick. I think it was his lungs. I called the ambulance but there was no petrol because of the strikes. It couldn’t get to us and my child died. I always think, if only I came to South Africa in time, my son would still be here today.
I came to South Africa in 2009. I married another Zimbabwean and we had two kids. We are divorced now though. My son lives with my ex-husband, and my daughter lives with me. My daughter is three years old. I work as a domestic worker and I have to leave her at a crèche all day.
She reminds me a lot of my son who passed away. She also suffers with a lot of pain. She screams and cries and there’s nothing I can do. I have been to the clinic so many times and they give me medicine and tell me to wait, that she’ll come right, but she never does. When I’m at work and she starts screaming, the crèche phones me to come and fetch her. And I feel so helpless because I don’t know how to help her.
I live in Hillbrow and I walk to the clinic in Esselen about once a month to take my daughter to a doctor. I have to take time off of work for it and there are always long queues, so I try to go early. They are nice to me there but they don’t help me, they just keep telling me to wait and see. It makes me scared sometimes. I’ve already lost one child. Do I have to feel the pain of losing another? I don’t know if I could take it.
– As told to Aaisha Dadi Patel
– Image via Wikimedia Commons