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South African Boy with Downs Syndrome Triumphs Over Prejudice

  • Darren Taylor
In the isolated rural areas of South Africa, there’s usually no special treatment for people with mental illnesses. They’re often neglected and labeled as cursed by witches, and possessed by evil spirits. That includes people with the condition called Down Syndrome. But one boy with the condition has risen above the social stigma of being disabled.
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Sihle Batyia, at the Ikhaya Loxolo home in Hobeni in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province (VOA/Taylor)
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Sihle Batyia, at the Ikhaya Loxolo home in Hobeni in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province (VOA/Taylor)

Community elder and a caregiver at the home, Mama ka Blondie, often has the responsibility of supervising Sihle (VOA. D Taylor)
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Community elder and a caregiver at the home, Mama ka Blondie, often has the responsibility of supervising Sihle (VOA. D Taylor)

Sihle with his favorite toy – a battery operated toy space gun (VOA/ D. Taylor)
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Sihle with his favorite toy – a battery operated toy space gun (VOA/ D. Taylor)

Sihle fires his favorite toy constantly – much to the irritation of his fellow patients. (VOA/ D. Taylor)
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Sihle fires his favorite toy constantly – much to the irritation of his fellow patients. (VOA/ D. Taylor)

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