Photo Credit: Yogendra Singh (Pexels) / BackaBuddy / Cottonbro (Pexels)

Simphiwe Ditshaba loves his sports and friends but he is having to slow down as he is outgrowing his state-supplied prostheses; a fund was launched to help get new ones.


Free State, South Africa (30 March 2023) – 11-year-old Simphiwe Ditshaba is like any other young man his age, filled with energy, loves his school sports and has a great group of friends. The only difference is that he has two prosthetic legs and he lost his right arm. The only thing holding him back today is that he is outgrowing his state-supplied prostheses.

When Simphiwe was a little boy, he was diagnosed with Meningococcemia, which is known more commonly as blood poisoning. The infection spread throughout his body leading to septicaemia complications. Both his legs, his right arm and several fingers on his left hand needed to be amputated. This all before he had entered grade 2.

Once Simphiwe had recovered from the harrowing ordeal, he started school at the Sandveld Combined School, in Wesselsbron, Free State in 2018. He was faced with even more challenges as he was originally right-handed and could only speak Sotho.

Teachers took the time to help him learn to write left-handed and to learn Afrikaans, the predominant language at the school. In 2019, he was fitted with state-supplied prosthesis, which he then also needed to learn to use.

Despite all this adversity so early in his life, Simphiwe adjusted to this new way of living and before long, took it all in his stride. As he has progressed through school, he has developed a love for sports. He defies every limit placed in his way and has left his teachers in awe of his commitment to succeeding in all he does.

Teachers have noticed that Simphiwe is facing discomfort and pain. He has had the same prostheses for the last five years. A local handyman assists the family whenever there is a breakdown in his gear but realistically, Simphiwe needs a new set of legs and to pursue his love of sports, a set of blades would take him even further.

A crowdfund was launched to help raise the R110,000 needed to make this goal a reality. The new blades would address the pain he is currently experiencing in his hips and back too. Working with FA Kleinhans Prosthetic Centre and the non-profit Stepping in Grace, they have been able to bring together a few second-hand pieces to make the expense less. But the financial requirement is just too big for Simphiwe’s family to shoulder alone.

A trust has been set up that will manage funding and support Simphiwe as he continues to grow. Over the years, he will be able to grow without the anxiety of outgrowing his prosthetic legs. To date, the fund for his new legs has reached over R80,000. Anything beyond the R100,000 will go into the trust and be used next time he needs a new fitment.

“Obviously he has outgrown his prostheses and having no medical aid, never had the access to new legs. A local handy man is often recruited to “fix” his legs when broken. He is currently experiencing hip and back problems.

BUT in spite of experiencing lots of challenges, Simphiwe plays rugby with his class mates and participates in cricket matches. He even attempts tennis during physical education and training. He participated in our house athletics this year doing shot put with a 2 kg weight, after dismissing the cricket ball I offered him. He also participated in javelin using a 300g.

He is such an inspiring young boy, who is dedicated to overcoming challenges. Always smiling, he refuses to succumb to his current physical condition and never uses it as an excuse.

Simphiwe is a role model to many teachers and learners at our school. It is our greatest wish to help him succeed in life.

Therefore we are in dire need of funds for new prostheses. We have a few good hearted people getting us started with consultations and secondhand parts, FA Kleinhans Prosthetic Centre and the non-profit Stepping in Grace.

We wish to provide him with regular prostheses, but also with blades for sports participation. Obviously this process will have to be repeated in future. All donations to this cause will be directed to the Simphiwe Trust, which will be used to provide in his needs. Please help us, help Simphiwe!” – Sandveld Combined School

You can support Simphiwe via the BackaBuddy fund here.

Source: BackaBuddy
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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