Posted by: hazelmeda | March 12, 2012

Call for black blood

BLACK students have been urged to consider becoming donors during a five-day blood drive in Senate House this week. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is on a publicity drive to reassure the black community that their donations are valued.

Nonny Vilakazi, a PhD student in palaeontology whose mother used to work for SANBS, said that some black people are reluctant to donate blood “because of the rumours three or four years back about black people’s blood being thrown away”.

SANBS Trainee Phlebotomist Zazi Thwala, whose own daughter needed a transfusion at the age of three months, said: “There are lots of accidents, especially taxis and buses and that increases demand for transfusions. We are the ones mostly who use public transport and we are the ones mostly in these accidents.”

Her colleague, Lazarus Ramolefo, confirmed the majority of donors are white. “There is a lack of education in the black community. But gradually black people have started coming, especially since the new blood donor centre opened at Maponya Mall. ”

Kentse Radebe, a 1st year industrial psychology student, first donated blood because “I just thought it would be cool to save a life”. She urged other students to become donors. “Your body produces more blood naturally, so it’s not like you are losing anything. It’s not costing you anything, so go out there and donate!”

While the students Vuvuzela spoke to recognised the benefits of donating blood, some still could not bring themselves to do it. Some claimed that they were too busy.

“I walk past there and I’m in a hurry. I always keep saying I’ll go back”, said Zinhle Mhlongo, a 1st year biological sciences student.

“Most people say that they don’t have time to wait in the line”, she added.

Maite Leshabane, a 3rd year accounting sciences student donated blood two years ago, but is reluctant to do it again.

“I could feel that there was something not right with my body afterwards…It’s a small price to pay, but I don’t know if I can go through with that.”

She continued: “I’m terrified of needles and actually watching the blood leave my body…I’m not used to seeing so much blood”.

Second year economics student Evans Ngwako grew up in rural Limpopo.

“I do believe in donating, but I can’t… because of my culture.”

“The people I grew up with…they told me ‘Those things, you mustn’t do them. ’ Old people like my grandfathers, they said you should avoid sharing blood because you may get someone’s blood and they may be a devil worshipper”.

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