The afternoon sun cast a glow through the trees as we bounced our way along the soft sand of a little-used jeep track in northern KwaZulu-Natal. At regular intervals, the community health worker accompanying us would mutter ‘left’ or ‘right’.

After a good hour without passing any homesteads, we made a sharp turn into a small clearing with three dilapidated reed huts. I got out to drag open the gate and was met with a wholly unexpected Johannesburg accent: “Hey sister, how’s it going?” We had arrived at the last homestead of our day, to visit a middle-aged woman with paraplegia of an unknown cause who had been issued a wheelchair three years ago and had since disappeared off our clinic radar…..more