Allay the dangers of maternity by honouring rural custom


Josephine Masedi hears the cry from next door.

She stands up and walks briskly into her neighbour’s house to find the pregnant young woman gripping the arm of a couch.

Her sweaty face is contorted with pain; she is in labour.

Keeping her knees apart, she sinks to the floor, while Masedi grips her shoulders reassuringly, before rushing off to find a mat for the new mother to sit on.

Three years later, at a small village near Tzaneen, Limpopo, 58-year-old Masedi, who is a cleaner at the local hospital, recounts the tale: “My neighbour had earlier on called the clinic and they told her to come but it was too late and while in the toilet the baby’s head popped out.”

Read it at the M&G.

Image – Josephine Masedi is a self-taught midwife, thanks to having given birth to her own daughter Lettie and three other children at her home in Mogoboya village, Limpopo. (Photos: Madelene Cronjé)(M&G)