Africa

  • Charity Petelo [left], with her son, Sisa, a person living with schizophrenia at the Ikhaya Loxolo home in Hobeni, South Africa (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • The home’s director, Alex Gunther, acknowledges that her facility is “inadequate” for Sisa … But he has nowhere else to go in the region (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Looking at pictures in books is one of the few activities that Sisa is willing to engage in (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Hobeni elder Mama ka Blondie says the community is “terrified” of Sisa (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Sisa is not willing to participate in most activities at Ikhaya Loxolo (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Sisa is not willing to participate in most activities at Ikhaya Loxolo (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Sisa is not willing to participate in most activities at Ikhaya Loxolo (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Ikhaya Loxolo’s maintenance man, Patekile Mofeti, is one of the few people able to control Sisa and to calm him when he’s agitated (VOA/ D. Taylor) (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Sisa’s companion at the home, Patekile Mofeti, lights a fire for a barbecue (VOA/ D. Taylor)
  • Sisa watches the men barbecue at Ikhaya Loxolo (VOA/ D. Taylor)

Family Copes with Schizophrenia in South Africa

Darren Taylor

Published July 09, 2013

A mother and her son are locked in a desperate battle against schizophrenia in a district in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. The son, Sisa Petelo, has symptoms that include paranoia, aggression and even violence. Petelo is being cared for at the only facility in the area that shelters the mentally ill. In many isolated parts of South Africa it’s not recognized as a medical condition, and those with the illness are shunned.


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