“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.”

Robert Ngcobo