Young girl seeks help for debilitating condition

Johannesburg- What began as a toothache has resulted in years of torment for a 17-year-old pupil from Eastern Cape, after her face was left distorted.

Avumile Nkayitshana told Sunday World that it has been three years of mockery, pain, shame and low self-confidence since her face began to take an unfamiliar shape.

Nkayitshana, a grade 10 pupil from Luqhoqhweni administrative area, Flagstaff in Eastern Cape, said she was born with a normal face but when she had a toothache, her face changed and her life has not been the same.

She had to repeat grade 7 because her new condition took a toll on her and had a terrible impact on her studies.

Nkayitshana, who stays with her 20-year-old sister who is in matric, said they lost their grandmother when she was about to take her to a doctor.

“We’d been living with my grandmother since our parents passed on years back. My condition started as a toothache in 2018, and it hasn’t been diagnosed because we cannot afford to go to see a doctor.

“My late grandmother took me to the local hospital as my face was starting to swell and the doctors said they don’t know what the cause was.

“She then started saving money so that we could afford a specialist. While she was still trying to do that, she fell ill, so that money was used to take care of her and she later passed away,” an emotional Nkayitshana told Sunday World.

Nkayitshana said she had tried to accept her condition, but the mockery at school made the situation unbearable.

“Looking at myself in the mirror is a horrific constant reminder of how other people see me. But after failing grade 7 my sister sat me down and told me to never give an ear to what they have to say about me and to focus on my studies.

“They still laugh but I try to shut their voices out and focus on my schoolwork.”

Speaking to Sunday World, Chwayita Nkayitshana, Avumile’s sister said her sister’s condition was confusing.

“I don’t know how a toothache would change someone’s life like this. What is more confusing is that the face changes every day and that makes life more complicated for her. We don’t have any hope because it is only the two of us at home.

“The only income we have is Avumile’s foster grant that we receive from government, which we use to buy food and toiletries, and then we are left with nothing,” she said.

The Nkayitshana sisters are seeking any kind of intervention to make the girl’s life go back to normal. They can be contacted by e-mailing the reporter of this article.


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