UPDATE: Little Wanga is back after successful heart surgery

Little Wanga, who was helped by Good Morning Angels and Operation Healing Hands, is back in studio with her healed heart.

We met six-year-old Wanga and her dad, Takalani, in February this year.

She desperately needed surgery to mend a hole in her heart. Wanga is one of the estimated 11,000 children born with a heart defect in South Africa every year. She was diagnosed with a PDA – or a hole in the heart – a birth defect that can be mended through early detection and surgery.

However, like most of the children born with congenital heart disease, Wanga’s parents could not afford private healthcare and she had to wait her turn in the over-burdened state healthcare system – while time was running out.

The Angels came to Wanga’s aid in the form of a group of private medical practitioners and suppliers co-ordinated by our friends at Operation Healing Hands.

Surgeon, Prof Lindy Mitchell, and medical personnel offer their services for free, Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital sponsors theatre time and hospital facilities, and medical company, Vertice, is sponsoring the devices needed during surgery.

Despite all of the generosity, R30,000 per child is still needed to cover the costs of consumables used during the procedures.

Good Morning Angels and our generous listeners donated R300,000 to assist the first 10 operations.

Wanga was one of the first children to receive her surgery and she and dad Takalani are back for a visit.

We also have a surprise for the surgical team, to enable them to assist ten more children.

REQUEST FOR: 10 more children like six-year-old Wanga

REQUEST FROM: Prof Lindy Mitchell, President of the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa and lead surgeon on the project

ANGEL 1:  Danie Matthee, CEO of Outsurance

SPONSORING: Outsurance, through their Staff Helping SA Out fund, will contribute R300,000 to enable Operation Healing Hands and their special Child Cardio Project, to assist another 10 children with their much-needed corrective heart surgeries!

These children have so far been assisted:

Wanga Khumeleni (6)

Boipelo Boitumelo  (2)

Omphile Ramoba  (11-months)

Omphile Sekgala   (2)

Amogelang Madingoana (7)

Lwandile Khanye (3)

Lindokuhle Mkhwebane (2)


Congenital heart disease, also described as a heart defect, refers to one or more complications with the structure of the heart, which is present at birth. The defect is due to a baby’s heart not developing properly during pregnancy. The disease can change the way in which the heart pumps blood, where the blood flows too slow, in the wrong direction or blocking the flow completely.

It is estimated that around 11 000 South African children are born with a heart defect each year. Where congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect. Approximately 4 500 of the 11 000 children, need life-saving surgical intervention. Through proper treatment, the prognosis for most of these children is outstanding, where at least 85% of them are expected to survive to adulthood. However, less than 25% of these children receive proper treatment. This is due to either misdiagnosing, identifying the defect too late or state facilities not being able to carry the capacity of patients in need. Survival for these children is depending on a timely diagnosis and urgent medical treatment. Every year, over 3000 children die, or are left disabled due to their heart condition.

Vertice MedTech is taking hands with Operation Healing Hands and Zuid Afrikaans Hospital, to save the lives of children with congenital heart disease. Prof. Lindy Mitchell and Prof. Jayneel Joshi, 2 two (2) Paediatric Cardiologists, are offering their services and will conduct procedures to help save the lives of these children. Operation Healing Hands are expanding their offering to the cardiology space, Vertice MedTech will be donating the closure devices and catheters for the procedures, Zuid Afrikaans Hospital is donating theatre time and Prof. Mitchell and Prof. Joshi will be performing the procedures for free.

The project’s kick-off will be from 7-14 February 2023, as this is Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week. On 15 February 2023, all parties involved will contribute to conduct five (5) procedures at Zuid Afrikaans Hospital, where the lives of five (5) children will be saved. These children are on the waiting list to receive treatment at State Hospitals and through this initiative, we can ensure that they do not lose their lives while waiting for their turn.

Tune in to the ‘Breakfast with Martin Bester‘, weekdays from 06:00 – 09:00. Stream the show live here or download our mobile app here.