24th May 2017 4:27:45 AM

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Kedibone Ramaremela


Kedibone (stretching her arms behind her head) sitting next to Salome, Boipelo and Thulani at moyo Zoo Lake in January 2011. Kedibone climbed to 3800 metres but was too young emotionally to push herself to climb the final 300 metres. It seems a small distance to cover, but the thinner air at high altitude and the determination that she has not yet fostered, all played a part.

Nonetheless the shy teenager from the Louis Trichardt (Makado) area of South Africa, gained enormously from having the chance to fly in a plane, to see new cities, villages and landscapes and to experience the culture of Central-West Africa.



Kedibone (14) enjoying an orange while talking to Doreen (left) and Salome (right) about the Suikerbosrand hike.

Kedibone Ramaremela is a Venda girl born to Maria and Phineas Ramaremela on 23rd March 1996.

She has two sisters Norah (20) and Abashoni (18) and three brothers Alex (28), Tshamano (16) and Hangwi (10).

All the youngsters have the same parents except for Hangwi, who had a different Dad.

When he was about four years old, his father strangled Maria Ramaremela with a rope and then he hanged himself. The little boy was present when this happened.

Kedibone says: 'He saw it. I think he remembers it.'

The quiet teenager is very matter of fact about the several tragedies in her life.

She said that she does not live with her father and that he does not support her financially. She sees him in December and she loves him a little. Why? 'Because he is my father,' she says.

'Phineas doesn't look after us.' He has another wife Elisa [Esther] and they had two children again. Cynthia is 18 years old. Ale (ah-lay) was about the same age as Kedibone but she died in December 2009. 'She was eating and her aunt put something in her food. I don't know if it was poison. She died.'

Phineas has at least one other child, an adult called Tshepo, who lives somewhere in Johannesburg.

Kedibone is looked after by her sister Norah now. Norah cares for children in a crèche for a meagre income.

Kedibone used to live with her aunt Sophie. She says: 'I was in the shack and my aunt told me to light the stove. There was a small flame already. I poured in more gel [green ethanol gel] and it exploded over my face.'

'I was ten years old. The flames came up. I was crying. I called 'aunty, aunty' but she didn't help. She said: 'Yes, it's a good thing.' She was laughing.'

Kedibone ran to Sophie's grandchild, Theresa.

'She just put me Colgate [toothpaste on the injury], put me in the room, locked the room and took the key.'

Theresa was about 16 years old at that time, Kedibone thinks.

'Aunty Sophie came and Theresa said she did not know where I was!'

'Eventually Norah took me to the clinic. They put a bandage on my face and then I went to George Mukhari Hospital in Garankua. I was there for some weeks.'

Kedibone has a sister called Norah and a cousin (Aunt Sophie's daughter) called Norah.

Kedibone only started school at eight years old because she was in the care of Aunt Sophie who told her mother that she was in school when she wasn't!

'I left Pretoria and returned to Limpopo last year (2009) because my Aunt Sophie didn't want me.'

'I am old for primary school. In 2011 I will go to Jonathan Secondary School in Madombidzha.

'My father lives in Samkom. It takes about two hours to get there by bus. The taxis can take longer. He works at a chemist; he sells the medicine.'

'I want to be a nurse when I finish school because I love helping people.'

'My best subject is English; often I get 40 out of 50 for my marks.'





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