Life changing operations for teen brothers

Kalala Tshibanga and his younger brother Caleb Mutombo grew up with a double handicap - not only were they severely disbled due to multiple abnormalities in their bone structure and joints, but they were abandoned by their parents shortly after birth.

From a young age they had to fend for themselves and were living with their sister Jemima in a child-headed household when Moira Simpson arranged for them to come and live at Kids Haven,  a non-profit organisation she founded in 1992  which currently provides care for over 200 street children. 

And so began a journey of new possibilities - hopes of being more like other kids their age.

Jalna le Roux with Kalala Tshibanga and Caleb Mutombo

Jalna le Roux, Netcare Professional Liaison manager pictured here with Kalala (19) and Caleb (16)

Jalna le Roux, professional liaison network manager at the Netcare Hospital group is an old friend of  Kids Haven. After meeting the boys, she mobilised support to have the boy's limbs surgically corrected approaching orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Mark Eltringham and medical companies associated with Netcare.

When Mike Woods, Orthopaedic Trauma Director at Smith & Nephew South Africa heard of the boys' need for advanced medical devices, the company agreed to donate the external fixator Caleb needed (a Taylor Spatial Frame) and an anatomically contoured locking plate system (Peri-loc) for Kalala.  Mike Woods said:

"Because we are global leaders in  Orthopaedic Trauma, we believe we have a responsibility to invest in surgeon training and education as well as outreach programmes. In this way, not only are we giving these brave young brothers a fighting chance but it is also an opportunity to showcase the life-changing outcomes that can be achieved with advanced orthopaedic trauma technology." 


Dr Eltringham  performed the first round of surgery in July 2013. Three months later he smiled broadly as he discussed the progress the brothers are making.

"They came in full of ideas and aspirations. They're great kids and highly motivated. You can see it by the way they responded to therapy. They've been keen, they've been doing gym, training - and they're really proud of their achievements. We have to be realistic about their (physical) goals but we've straightened them out as best as possible to improve their quality of life." 

  Dr Eltringham, Caleb Mutombo and Niel van Wyk      
Dr Mark Eltringham, Netcare Sunninghill pictured here with Niel van Wyk, Trauma Representative, Smith & Nephew and Caleb Mutombo on the day of his first operation in July 2013



Despite the Taylor Spatial Frame which will remain fixed to his leg for some time and his obvious physical limitations, Caleb is an outgoing, articulate and mature-beyond-his-years sixteen year old who radiates optimism and thankfulness.

"We came to Kids Haven because the social workers and our community tried to make it work for us but it was very difficult trying to function in a child headed household. I had problems when I walked – it felt like my muscles were burning and I always had to find a pavement to walk next to so I could keep the balance. I would get a new pair of shoes on a Monday and by the Thursday they would be worn out already because every time I walked I scraped the sides."

"I met Auntie Jalna through my teacher at school and she said she couldn’t make any promises but she started a lot of things – like the operation and Netcare have given us a bursary to go to University. 


Caleb Mutombo

"My leg is facing the right direction now. It was in the totally wrong direction and now it's actually straight. Because of this operation I'm going to be able to walk, run and do everything just like any other kid and be normal."

Kalala talked about how his life changed since going to live at Kids Haven. He found walking was difficult because his right leg was curved. He couldn't run well or ride a skateboard easily. Both he and Caleb got tired quickly and they were teased a lot.

Kalala will go through two more operations and he is confident that afterwards it will be "like nothing ever happened". He says he has more confidence now and is excited about finishing Matric and being able to study further.

  Kalala Tshibanga

"Netcare are going to help my brother and I with university. My  now! My legs are almost like a normal persons' now."dream is to be an IT guy but to be honest, I think I should work for Netcare for free, you know for the way they have changed my life. We're very grateful for the sponsors that have come along - like Ampath and Smith & Nephew who have helped with the funds for our operations and the fixators ... What we can do in life."

"We're very grateful for the sponsors that have come along - like Smith & Nephew who gave the fixators .... What we can do in life now! My legs are almost like a normal persons' now."

The words of Kalala Tshibanga after a PERI-LOC VLP◊ was used in an operation to straighten his bowed leg.

Watch the video

Visit Vimeo to hear Kalala tell his story




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Restoring Patient Function

"Because of this operation I’m going to be able to walk, run and do everything like any other kid and just be normal."

The words of Caleb Mutombo after a Taylor Spatial Frame◊ was used to correct his severe leg deformity 

Watch the video

Visit Vimeo to hear Caleb tell his story

Taylor Spatial Frame


Taylor Spatial Frame◊

The world's most advanced, versatile and clinically proven circular fixator