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This story was sent to us by a strong and courageous mom in Soweto, Qaqambile, whose son was born with a cleft lip and palate.

Sibaluhle at birth

“My son Sibaluhle was born with a million dollar smile! The first time I held my sweet baby I felt a connected to him. He is the most precious diamond. He is a a gift from God and I am beyond grateful for his life. I am not ashamed that he was born with a cleft lip and palate. I showed him off to the world proudly. People would laugh and point at him because of his cleft lip; this broke my heart. I had to be strong every time I was asked what happened to my son. People were not educated about cleft lip and palate and were asking out of curiosity. Sometimes I got tired of their reactions but I made sure everyone knew I was proud of my child.

I see every cleft challenge as a blessing. He is a treasure in our lives. His first operation was when he was 5 months old to repair his cleft lip. His second operation was to close his cleft palate when he was one years old. I’m grateful for my mother (Sibaluhle’s granny) who supported me during this time by holding my baby and comforting him after the surgeries while we managed his pain post op and his mouth healed.

Sibaluhle post op

We attend speech therapy sessions regularly as well as ENT check up’s and we are doing well. Sibaluhle can hear clearly. This is a big relief as sometimes children affected by cleft lip and palate have ear infections and something called glue ear. His smile will always be a million dollar smile to me and melts my heart regularly, oh sweet baby of mine. We smile, cry, celebrate everything together, he has taught me so much in life. Through good times and bad we stick together.

To all the moms out there who have children affected by cleft lip and palate I want to tell you – Keep calm and be cleft strong!”


If you or your loved one is cleft affected feel free to email your photo and story to us at info@cleftfriends.co.za. We want to share encouraging stories and create awareness about cleft lip and palate in South Africa. You are not alone!

#cleftfriends #smilefoundationsa #closingthegap #youarenotalone #cleftlip #cleftpalate #cleftstrong #cleftmomsSA #cleftcourage

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Contact Details

Email: info@cleftfriends.co.za
Phone: (082) 393 1206

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