By Kyle James   |  06-04-2018   News
Photo credit: Brian Okoth

Tanzania's famous conjoined twins who have been dubbed handicapped heroes have died at age 21. The two conjoined twins are sisters named Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti and they are conjoined at the abdomen. The two sisters are basically joined at the hip with two upper halves and no legs. The president of the east African nation announced the twins passing Sunday, June 3.

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Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti became celebrities due to their unique situation of being joined at the abdomen. The media closely followed the pair on their journey through high school. The twins were admitted to the Ruaha Catholic University in Iringa in September 2017. Their admission to the university marked the first time in the country that disabled people were allowed into the university and it was highly covered in the Tanzania media. Normally, disabled people are marginalized or abandoned at birth in Tanzania.

The twins began a course in education with a goal of becoming history teachers themselves when they became ill in January. The medical issues afflicting Maria and Consolata included cardiac problems. President John Magufuli tweeted, "I am saddened by the death of twins, Maria and Consolata. When I last visited them at the hospital they prayed for the nation. My condolences to their family… Rest in peace, my children."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Nimesikitishwa na kifo cha Maria na Consolata. Nilipokwenda hospitali waliliombea Taifa. Walikuwa na ndoto ya kulitumikia Taifa. Poleni familia, Masista wa Maria Consolata na wote walioguswa, pumzikeni mahali pema wanangu. BWANA ALITOA NA BWANA AMETWAA JINA LA BWANA LIHIMIDIWE.</p>&mdash; Dr John Magufuli (@MagufuliJP) <a href="https://twitter.com/MagufuliJP/status/1003027813811806210?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 2, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The sisters continued their treatment at a hospital near their university and began showing signs of improvement before they passed away on Saturday, June 2. Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti were abandoned at birth after their father died. They were then taken in by a Catholic mission. An emotional statement was televised on state television last July when Maria urged parents not to "hide or lock up their handicapped children".

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Kilolo District Commissioner Asia Abdallah congratulates <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/conjoinedtwins?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#conjoinedtwins</a> Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti for excelling in their form six exams <a href="https://t.co/8HB8y8w4aN">pic.twitter.com/8HB8y8w4aN</a></p>&mdash; issamichuzi (@issamichuzi) <a href="https://twitter.com/issamichuzi/status/887825458267656192?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 20, 2017</a></blockquote>

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<i>On Twitter:</i>

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Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/world/africa/tanzanias-conjoined-twins-handicapped-heroes-die-at-21?xtor=CS1-10

Twitter: #ConjoinedTwins #Tanzania #MariaAndConsolata #Handicapped #RuahaCatholic #University
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