|Brother Mdledle interpreted for Buzelwa Norongo's aunt.|
In May we took her and Brother Mdledle, our Xhosia interpreter, to visit her mother's sister who is blind. Buzelwa had been there several times but the old woman would not co-operate. We went praying and fasting. When this aunt learned that Brother Mdledle's wife is a members of her clan, she gave Buzelwa the information that led to the discovery of her mom's national I.D. number. Though she told her that her mom's given name was Cynthia. It's really Gladys.
Bezelwa petitioned Home Affairs again and began calling herself "Minieka Toban." (Since her parents never married, she was informed that she should use her mother's sir name.) Her mother named her Minieka when she was born which means "beautiful day." However this is not the name that appears on her baptismal certificate or her school records. Evidently she has always gone by Buzelwa Norongo, the name her grandmother called her. Her mother never bothered to correct the old lady. Xhosa women are subservient. They are told to respect the elders. It is against their nature to argue or disagree with an older relative.
Home Affairs keep asking for additional documentation. Her mother born three children but only one was registered and had a birth certificate. There is nothing on the computer for either of the other two. So neither can get a pass port or health care. Nor can they qualify to enter a university or get a responsible job.
In the latest development, The Home Affairs office indicated that a close relative on either her mother or father's side must come to the office with pertinent information clarifying and proving the identity of Buzelwa's parents, family names, parental birth dates and death dates,
their off spring and those birth dates. The relative must be at least ten years older than the applicant. Such testimony will allow them to give her a National Identification number and also provide her with a birth certificate.
Yesterday we were at her home giving Buzelwa a follow up lessing when suddenly this huge man walked through the door. The man stood over 6' 5" tall and must have weighed at least 285 pounds. He said he was on his way to church when he decided to stop by and pay her a visit. Last week Buzelwa used our cell phone to call her uncle when she was trying to find some relative to go with her to Home Affairs. However he never answered. So we drove her to his place of business but they said he was at a meeting. When he got Buzelwa's recorded message, he called our cell number and we explained what was needed. When he walked in and sat down he did not introduce himself, so I asked him who he was. I said we are missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ.
"I'm Cecil Rhodes, the oldest brother of Buzelwa's father," he replied. "I raised this girl and she was a very very bad child. She run away. She created problems. Her life is a combat Zone. I set money aside for her education but she would not go to school. She cut her classes. She he would not study. Buzelwa is a very very bad girl."
Tears were running down her cheeks but Buzelwa sat quietly and said nothing. So I jumped to her defence, "Buzelwa is a devout Christian. She was baptised into our church in May. She is in the Primary Presidency and she teaches little children about God. She may have had problems in the past but now she is a different person." Tom also defended her and asked if he if he would accompany us to Home Affairs and testify concerning the circumstances of her birth. Cecil agreed to do so. He said he would call us next week when he is not busy and to meet us and Buzelwa there.
Then he added, "I hope Home Affairs will not hold me responsible for all the trouble that she has caused. I have been a good father to her. I was an excellent provider. I have treated her the same as I treat my own girls," he said.
When he walked out Buzelwa completely lost it. She dissolved into tears and sobbed uncontrollably but said nothing to contradict him or to defend herself. I wanted to know the real story but did not ask. When we were with her at Home Affairs last week she was interviewed extensively since she evidently has spent seven years trying to get her national I.D. number. When a case worker asked why she had not initiated a court case so a judge could hear testimony. She answered "I did, but my uncle did not show up." (Obviously it was the same man, Uncle Cecil Rhodes.)
"Then he should have been subpoenaed" the case worker said. How would Buzelwa know to do that? Last week a security guard stopped her at the front door and tried to send her back to Motherwell. He said, "This office cannot help you." Elder Stokoe stepped right up and demanded to be taken to the Director. Obviously Cecil Rhodes was worried that he might be in trouble with those people. I kept wondering why any of the various relatives that she lived with in twenty years had never petitioned to get her a number. Why did her grandmother give her a diffent name? Why did her blind aunt say she could not go to home affairs with us? She claimed she was too busy getting ready for a funeral.
Buzelwa speaks good English and writes well. She has done everything she could to fix this problem. She was not able to graduate from high school because she had no I.D. number. They would not allowed her to take her finals and "Matric." Why does she continually run into resistance? Brother Mdledle believes it has something to do with a feud between her mother's and her father's families. Likely they are holding her responsible for something that may have happened before she was born or in the distant past. The fact that both parents were murdered may account for the problem. Witch craft is still alive and well here in South Africa.