My journey as a rural therapist 

(Written by: Ronè Ochse)

Each day looks very different as we have a fair amount of different clinics we have to plan and run at the hospital but also at various surrounding clinics. The types of clients we see on a daily basis can also vary quite a lot and I sometimes end up seeing both children and adults all ranging from physical, scholastic or psychological difficulties. My day is generally broken up into sections of admin, physical contact/ treatment sessions in the ward, some DIY to make something for a client, some more physical contact in our rehabilitation ward, one or two sessions of counseling and some hand therapy all mashed up into one day.

One thing I have had been forced to get used to is how easily plans need to be changed or adapted and how Transkei time, really is Transkei time and one just has to embrace it rather than fight it or get frustrated about it.

To choose only one story is too tough a task as I have had the opportunity to witness so many inspirational and success stories during my time at Madwaleni. For me, working with the Xhosa culture and all that they do and the way they love, help, share, give, laugh and “Nyamezela” – to keep on going, has been the biggest inspiration of all. I am constantly in awe of how a grandmother would decide to take full responsibility of her grandchildren or even a child who is not related to her, or how a brother would leave his job to care for his little brother who has Cerebral Palsy, Or a son who will remain home to care for his frail and fragile mother or a patient who will walk for 2 hours to get to the hospital to seek help for his sister. These are the stories that move me, that inspire me and that drive me to Nyamazela and give as much as I can.


My silver lining as a rural therapist would be the opportunity we have to form deep and real relationships with our clients and their family members or carers. We are given the time and platform to interact with them on a personal level and as much as possible try and take the time to sit with them, listen to their stories, share in their hurt/frustration/ hopelessness/dreams and desires and then together we try and find a solution for their situation. Although we only get to see them once a month, for various contextual and economic reasons, we actually get to see them EVERY month which allows that relationship to grow and we then also get the wonderful gift of seeing our clients grow, develop, learn new skills and come back with a new sense of hope and achievement.

“Malamulele Onward has been a major contributor to not only equipping me and giving me the confidence to work with children with CP and their caregivers, but they have showed me how important it is to always seek to better and always seek to learn more and develop more, weather it is my own skills but also the services we provide and the way in which we teach others. Malamulele has given me a heart for children with special needs and has made me realise that as a therapist we must always strive to give the child the opportunity to experience their world around them and be stimulated no matter their level of functioning, as all children have the ability to learn and experience the day to day things that we as abled bodies take for granted.”

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Malamulele Diary

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Malamulele Onward NPC | Company Registration No. 2006/032287/08 | Registered with the Department of Social Development as a Non-Profit Organization 056-807-NP0 | Public Benefit Organization 930025084