By Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu
Twenty-nine-year-old teacher, Mr Abednego Moyo made headlines three years ago when he was involved in a car accident which left him with a permanent injury while he was on official duty.
Moyo, who had just joined the teaching profession, was not yet on medical aid when he was involved in the accident.
Doctors said he had a complete spinal cord injury with ASIA meaning a thoracic vertebrae T9 and T10 had been crushed leaving the spinal cord severely compressed.
This meant that all his life he would be using a wheelchair and following the accident he also lost control of his bladder and stool.
His procedure was billed at US$4 500 and during his first weeks at Mpilo Central Hospital, his family managed to raise only $250.
For over two months, no help came.
However, an article by Chronicle earned Moyo sympathy from a South African doctor who volunteered to operate him for free in the neighbouring country.
He was forced to defer his studies at Solusi University for a year following the accident.
After the surgery, he was monitored for six months in South Africa before he resumed his teaching duties after doctors confirmed that he could still teach although with the help of an aide.
Mr Moyo’s wheelchair made mobility impossible in his rural Nkayi home with no roads and rails for the physically challenged.
“I was involved in a car accident in December 2018 while on an official trip and I was then a 2nd year student at Solusi University on block release programme. This accident left me with a complete T9/10 spinal cord injury which was a life-threatening situation,” says Mr Moyo.
“I spent the whole month of December 2018 and part of January 2019 at Mpilo Hospital with no intervention done as I failed to raise the surgery funds. It was only after a month when one individual read my story from The Chronicle and requested to carry out the spinal cord decompression and fusion surgery in South Africa. I spent six months hospitalised and later came back in July 2019.”
After the surgery, Mr Moyo had to adapt to his disability and learn everything in a relatively short period of time as he had to continue teaching and studying towards his degree.
Mr Moyo graduated on Sunday at Solusi University after deferring for a year and says his story of hope should inspire fellow members of the public who are going through tough times.
He was eventually transferred from Nkayi to Josiah Chinamano Primary School in Emakhandeni suburb where he is teaching now.
“Due to total loss of bowel and bladder management, I had to effectively learn how to cope with this new condition which was very costly. Apart from that, I had to fully acclimatise with disability issues -it was really a new world for me,” said Mr Moyo.
He said things are very tough as he is financially challenged because the little he is getting from teaching is being channelled to towards daily purchase of continence aids (adult diapers) and medication.
“This challenge has also forced me to rely on a fruits and vegetable diet which I can barely sustain,” he says.
Moyo says he needs about 50 adult diapers monthly which cost R700 in South Africa and medication to loosen stools hence the need for him to eat fruits and vegetables.
He says although he submitted the necessary paperwork to the country’s social security body — the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) — no help has come his way, three years on
“Despite all these challenges, I found myself rising when everything spelt doom. I even approached the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and asked them to pay my fees although I was at a private institution.
After many tries, they agreed when I was on the verge of giving up and that is how I managed to complete my studies at Solusi,” he said.
For Mr Moyo, life is all about resilience and treating setbacks as opportunities to rise against storms which can be worsened by the economy.
“ I am now a holder of a Bachelor of Education degree which I was virtually capped and conferred on 29 August 2021. An injury is not an impediment to one’s potential and success. As Nelson Mandela once said “Do not Judge me by my success. Judge me by how many times I fell and got up,” he said.
“Having joined social media platforms where disability issues are discussed, I now know and appreciate what it means to be disabled and this has helped me to cope with day-to-day challenges which include stigmatisation, inferiority, attitudinal barriers and environmental barriers. Thumbs up to the President of Zimbabwe for unveiling the National Disability Policy,” he said. The Chronicle