South Africa: Queuing for My Right to Healthcare Services

Much is written about the poor state of public health in South Africa. Tshabalira Lebakeng has diabetes. He is also unemployed and homeless and must visit his local clinic in Soweto every month. He tells the story of his struggle to get treatment to Harriet Perlman.

In October 2018, I found out I had diabetes. At the time I didn’t understand what it was. But I was always dizzy and hungry like an old cow. I was losing fluids in my body and I couldn’t sleep at night. One day my aunt suggested I go to the clinic to check it out. I am not a person who had visited the clinic much because I just didn’t get sick.

I arrived there at 8.30am. My first mistake.

There was a long long line of people queuing next to the clinic wall. Some people I knew and some I didn’t. Pregnant girls and old mamas. Sick people in pain who looked like they could die anytime. Old magogos and madalas.

While waiting in line you become friends. We talk about politics and how crazed Members of Parliament eat our tax money and drive big cars and live in big houses. They…

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