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Man goes deaf and blind in one week

2021-10-21  Staff Reporter

Man goes deaf and blind in one week
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Julia Kamarenga


Communicating to a deaf person through sign language is quite common, but what happens if the deaf cannot see?

This is the story of a 45-year-old Gobabis resident Otniel Tjiuiju, who, seven years ago, went deaf and blind in a space of one week.

“This sickness started in a way I do not understand to this day. This is the seventh year with this condition; I first lost the hearing – then after a week, I lost the vision. What led to this remains unknown to me,” he said. 

Tjiuiju has, however, amazingly mastered a technique of communication with which people can get through to him in either Otjiherero, English or Afrikaans. Because he is unable to read Braille, the communicator has to write a message on his arm, which he reads along and verbally responds. He attributes the art to God’s grace. 

Tjiuiju says, “It is the grace of God that enabled me to come up with that wise technique so that I am able to communicate with others. 

The communicator must use my finger to write with; otherwise, I will not read, unless I hold his hand while writing”.

His condition has put him in a disadvantaged position to access information that could positively contribute to his wellbeing. 

He said he does not entirely miss out on information but he gets news later than most. 

According to him, some people have known him and know how they should convey news to him.

He was quick to announce he knows there is Covid-19. In fact, he is fully vaccinated. 

Tjiuiju went on to say it is not only information about outbreaks that is delayed but he also only hears about the passing on of relatives weeks later.

Tjiuiju’s condition brought him so much pain of rejection.

 “I am a man and lived with women before this condition, although they left me – so yes, my body gets tense with desire, and I wish there could be a woman who would want to be with me to play certain roles that only women can. I know that if it was a woman in my condition, they could bear children – even from men they don’t know, but women won’t stick around a blind man who also has nothing; they all left me,” he lamented. 

He says because of this predicament, he has on occasions attempted to take his life but being the prayerful person he is, he cast that spirit out. 

Tjiuiju does most of the house chores, such as cooking, laundry, tidying up his room and even fetching water, all by himself or with minimal help. 

He has, however, been approved to stay in the old age home, where he would benefit from having access to some services.

Tjiuiju, however, said the medical doctor’s reports to his condition gives him hope he will one day be able to hear and see again.

“The doctor says I am not completely blind but what affected my hearing led to the loss of vision – and it is possible that if I get the hearing aid kit, then I may regain my sight,” he says. 

According to a relative, Erastus Kamurongo, acquisition of the hearing kit has for the longest time been a challenge but they are still pursuing it. 

Kamurongo said, although recently the state hospital informed them that the waiting list dates back to 2016, they are hopeful and will keep waiting for their turn.

Tjiuiju also consulted the private medical doctors and was told to acquire the hearing aid kit, he will need approximately N$100 000. 

“I am, therefore, pleading with sympathisers to help me raise money so that I will be able to get the kit; maybe then, I will reduce some of these shortcomings and lead a better life.”






2021-10-21  Staff Reporter

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