Eunice still a help in community

Despite her living conditions and being in a wheelchair, 70-year-old Eunice Patiwe works tirelessly to help her community.

In 2013, Patiwe established Isandla Soluntu, a non-profit organisation aimed at helping abused women, men, children and the elderly in Langa.

She lives in a small one room apartment that can barely fit in her wheelchair in Zone 16, at the Dura Hostels in Langa. She currently runs her organisation from her home.

“I used to have a container from which I ran my organisation, but the rent was too pricey. I could not afford to keep it (container) because my pension money is not enough. So the owners took it away,” she said.

Nowadays, Patiwe struggles to speak since an a call to become a traditional healer in 2015.

However, that did not deter her from helping people in her community.

“When the community has problems, Eunice brings them together.

But it’s very hard because she does not have a place to run her organisation and transport, especially since she is in a wheelchair. It’s very hard for her to get around,” said Alicia Khuzane, 69, the chairperson of Isandla Soluntu.

Patiwe has helped a lot of mothers and their children whose fathers do no support them. She takes them to court to assist them in opening cases and takes abused women and men to social workers and abused children to social welfare.

She also provides shelter for women who are abused by their husbands by letting them sleep in her one room apartment which only has one bed and sometimes feeds them out of her own pocket and by making sure that the abusers get their time in jail.

One of the women Patiwe has helped, Zimkhitha Ngwedu, 29, said: “Mama helped me a lot by assisting me in taking my baby’s father to court because he was not supporting the child and now he pays child support and I am very grateful,” she said.

Patiwe has won countless awards for her work in the community and is now nominated for the Community Champions Elder’s Awards. Her wish is to receive some donations towards getting a container or a place where she can run her programme because she currently cannot afford it and a better wheelchair.