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Former alleged Esidimeni patient speaks

A woman living under a tree is said to be one of the mental health patients formerly cared for at Life Esidimeni in Randfontein. The Herald interviewed her ...

The Herald recently spoke to 36-year-old Toppen Norppe – one of the alleged mental health patients formerly cared for at Life Esidimeni in Randfontein. Toppen is currently living under the trees near the Friendship Haven in West Porges.

A dark cloud is still hanging over the Gauteng Health Department after the deaths of more than 140 patients which resulted from disastrous transfers, and arbitration hearings are under way in Parktown, Johannesburg.

ALSO READ: Not all Esidimenis ended in tragedy

The Herald was informed of Toppen’s whereabouts by a reliable source, who said she might be one of the former patients affected by the closing of Esidimeni.

When we arrived at the spot mentioned by our source, we found Toppen lying down, with her belongings close by, neatly packed under a blanket.

Toppen Norppen seems content.

When she was approached, she smiled and gladly spoke about why she is living there. She said she was an African American from Britain and that she has 783 billion children in Europe. She also claimed that the father of her children is Broncie Louw, a Russian who was formerly a man but is now a woman who has had a baby.

” I am waiting here because God told me to, and my ancestors are busy building a house for me. They will come for me,” she said. Toppen also claimed to be a doctor in traditional healing and said she will go back to doing that as soon as her ancestors have her house ready for her.

Toppen said she has lived under these trees since January this year, and that when it rains, she stands under the nearby petrol station’s roof. She added that more of her belongings are stored there.

Toppen Norppe’s cooking area.

She did not complain of hunger, and she said she is not sick or in any pain. She even has a little place where she cooks. She also mentioned that she is paying rent for the spot where she lives, under the tree.

When asked whether she was afraid at night, she said, “No, I go there by the petrol station.” After a while she said she is a white English woman, and that people poisoned her, which is why she is now black.

Toppen said many people come to her ‘home’ to take pictures of her. She also said that two ladies offered her a place to stay, but that God stopped them in doing so.

Suddenly she said, ” If I stay somewhere else, I see a lot of yellow people with knifes that want to kill me.”

“I cannot fly back to Europe, because the sun, moon and clouds are cut up and in my head,” she added. She claimed that she has no family in South Africa, and up to 2007 she was working as a cleaner in Buccleuch.

” I left my job because people were physically hitting me. I also stayed at a welfare in Krugesdorp and Klerksdorp,” Topppen explained.

During our interview she did not mention Life Esidimeni Hospital at all. She did not appear paranoid, and did not seem confused. She used a lot of references to traditional healing and God.

Toppen said the ancestors should be coming with her new home this week. Strangely enough, she seemed content and confident in everything she said. She does not need anybody, does not feel she needs to be rescued, and does not ask for anything from anyone until her ancestors give her a house

The Herald is now appealing to any psychiatric care professional, or any other qualified person to assist in getting her proper medical help. She also said she does not take any medication, as it gives her pain in her back.

Please contact the Herald on 011 693 3671 should you be in a position to assist Toppen.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at randfonteinherald@caxton.co.za  (please remember to include your contact details in the email) or phone us on 011 693 3671.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites

Roodepoort Record

Krugersdorp News 

Get It Joburg West Magazine

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