“My Story -
My name is Robert Ngcobo. I am a Zulu man and my family home is in Maphumlo in Qwa Zulu Natal. I live in Soweto with my wife Dolly.
I have worked as a carpenter for many years of my life and I had a work accident in 1996 and because of this I lost my right leg above the knee. This was a very bad time in my life. My first artificial leg was made at Lesedi Clinic but it gave a lot of problems and I could not walk very well on it as it hurt too much. Then I had another artificial leg made by a man in Krugersdorp. I also could not walk well on that leg as it hurt badly. At that time I thought this is just how it is with artificial legs, so my life was hard and I always needed to use crutches to get around.
In 1998 I had another accident at work where a machine cut off a part of my thumb. I was rushed to Netcare Milpark Hospital where Dr Slabbert operated on my thumb and did a very good skin graft for me. I had to see him after the operation and was telling him about my artificial leg and saying I wished it was as good as the thumb job he did for me. He then gave me a card for a man named Christopher Harper and said I should go and see him.
I went to see Christopher and he made me a new artificial leg. It was much lighter than the other ones I had, it did not have a belt but was held on by a silicone liner and most of all it was very comfortable and I was able to walk well without crutches. I could not believe how much easier my life was after I got this new leg. I now walk long distances every day. I also ride a bike at weekends. I am enjoying my life again both here in Soweto and when I go home to visit my family in Maphumlo. I like to watch soccer and my friends and I have a braai together at the end of the month. I also enjoy jazz music.
I was retrenched from my carpenter's job as the company closed down. I could not find a job. I came to see Chris one day to get my artificial leg checked. When we were talking I told him I had lost my job. Not long after that he phoned me and offered me a job to train as a Prosthetics Technician. I have worked for him for almost 4 years now and I enjoy this work very much. It is very good to meet so many people from all over Africa who are patients and also to learn a new job at this time of my life. I know how important it is to be able to wear a well made comfortable leg and also one that looks good on the outside, so every leg I help to make I want it to be the best for that patient. I also like to encourage new patients that one day soon they will be walking again like I am.”