The Story of a Little Girl’s Quiet Strength
Ntombi Khomotso Ndayi is an outwardly introverted and confident eight-year-old girl from Roodepoort, Johannesburg.
Her first name may be Ntombi but, she is known as and generally responds to her middle name, Khomotso. Her mother recalls a time at the Hospital when the name, “Ntombi” was called out, how she had no reaction to it at all but that her ears perked up as soon as the name “Khomotso” was called out.
Khomotso lives with her father, mother, and two brothers. She is the youngest child of all three children. She enjoys watching television, particularly local drama series and cartoons, in her free time.
Khomotso was born on the 12 July 2013. Her mother discovered that she had a congenital heart defect when she was only 3-months-old. Her mother discovered that she had a hole in her heart right from birth.
The first major sign that something was wrong was when Khomotso started coughing. Her mother, afraid and not knowing what else to do, decided to take her to the clinic where she was examined. She learned from the results of Khomotso’s tests that her daughter had a serious heart condition.
Khomotso was referred to a hospital in Johannesburg where she was born, to receive care.
Her doctor insisted that she was fine. He prescribed certain medications which he believed, would help to close the hole in her heart.
Her mother, trusting her better judgement, continued to take Khomotso to the clinic for regular check-ups every year despite her doctor’s insistence that she was fine.
She kept growing as the years went on until her mother noticed that she was starting to lose a considerable amount of weight around the age of six.
She rushed her to the hospital.
Khomotso’s doctor then discovered that her heart valve was damaged in 2020. He referred her to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital during her next appointment.
Khomotso underwent open-heart surgical procedure at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in March 2022.
She stayed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for three weeks.
Her mother told us, “Kuqala bowungayizwa inhliziyo yakhe. Bowuzwa igazi me. Kodwa manje, for the first time, ngiyayizwa inhliziyo yakhe” meaning “You couldn’t hear her heartbeat at first. All you could hear was blood. But now, for the first time, I can hear her heartbeat.”
Khomotso and her mother left the hospital after her operation. They came back after a week so that her stitches could be removed. It was then, after the removal of her stitches, that her doctors and mother were able to hear her heartbeat for the first time.
Khomotso’s operation was a success. Her mother doesn’t believe that she will be back at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, “Unless there is an absolute need” she said.
Khomotso’s first and second school terms have been disrupted but, she is back in school now. She is in Grade 3 and has been doing well according to her mother.
She is still on a course of medication.