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Left for dead, now paralysed

by Linekela Halwoodi

Those from his Soweto neighbourhood in Katutura know him as Lukas while he is just the crawling man to others.
When The Villager visited him, he was outside his niece’s house lying in the dirt apparently to get fresh air.
He had nothing clean on him and close by was a bottle of water which he could only pick up with his left hand.
A day before that, this reporter had seen him crawling about Soweto minding his own business without his wheelchair, which he cannot use as he is paralysed on his right side since an accident from which he derived his current condition.
Lukas Thomas, 60, was crippled in a hit-and-run accident in Wanaheda in 2000 which has since caused him to lose sense of touch in his right arm and leg.
Thomas is now in the care of his niece, Selma who cannot afford a remote-controlled wheelchair.
 Selma says she struggles to provide and care for Lukas since she took him in after the death of her mother who used to care for him. Lukas who never got married has a son.
She has managed to look after him with the help of Samaritans who donate a few things now and again.
“He is my mother’s brother. I bathe him and there were times when I had to carry him on my back running errands before he got the wheelchair that has not improved anything since,” Selma says.
She further says Thomas only got a wheelchair last year after she had fought for it for years, “He got the wheelchair in August last year but he cannot use it because he can only use one side of his body.”
Thomas became epileptic after the accident and has not been able to speak properly because of the head injury that might have damaged his brain.
Although a police case was opened against the man who ran him over, nothing was done after the driver committed suicide.
“When the accident happened, I was summoned to (Judge President Petrus) Damaseb’s office and was told that I needed to pay N$2 000 for legal representation but I did not have that money. The last time we heard, the guy that ran him over had committed suicide,” she adds.
Thomas’ son, now in his mid-20s, who lives in Keetmanshoop, has not contacted his father ever since the accident.
Before his accident, he was self-employed as a veld shoe-maker in Windhoek but lost all his life’s work on the fateful day of the accident and has never recovered from it.