Mhlengi Gwala is 'blown away by the support'

08 March 2018 - 12:39 By Timeslive
Mhlengi Gwala.
Mhlengi Gwala.
Image: Facebook/IRONMAN South Africa

The triathlete from Chesterville in Durban who was attacked by three men who attempted to cut one of his legs off using a handsaw in the early hours of Tuesday morning‚ Mhlengi Gwala‚ has successfully undergone surgery and awoken to an outpouring of support.

He was admitted to a private hospital after the horror attack.

Hoping to raise funds for Gwala's medical treatment‚ JP Valverde from My Project Generator set up a BackaBuddy crowdfunding campaign. In a few short hours‚ the crowdfunding campaign surpassed the R150‚000 mark as fellow athletes and South Africans opened their hearts and sent messages of support to the athlete who was then undergoing surgery.

The fundraising target has been increased as the help pours in - first from R100‚000 to R300‚000 and now to R500‚000.

At midday on Thursday‚ over R400‚000 had been raised.

Donations range from R10 to R10‚000 from over 898 donors local and abroad‚ according to BackaBuddy.

Gwala’s friend and training partner‚ Sandile Shange‚ said the operation had been a success after speaking to him last night. “He is able to talk and is in a lot of pain understandably. He is a strong-minded person and he has been blown away by the support shown by fellow South Africans‚” said Shange.

In a statement issued by the crowdfunding site‚ Valverde said the funds will be managed by BackaBuddy‚ and will go towards covering Gwala’s medical fees‚ transportation‚ bike replacement and rehabilitation costs.

“Through their generosity‚ South Africans have once again proven‚ that as a society we will stand up for those affected by senseless acts of violence. One anonymous donation on BackaBuddy said it best‚ 'May the love you feel from strangers help you overcome the fear and fuel your recovery'‚" said BackaBuddy CEO Patrick Schofield.

Some of the messages of support for Gwala:

* “Let the tar burn with fury when you return!” – Anonymous

* “I'm sorry that you went through this. Remember‚ there are more good South Africans out there than bad ones. Get well soon.” – A concerned South African Citizen

* “I cheered you in on Sunday at the Durban Ultra Tri and now I cheer you on to a speedy recovery!” - Melanie Perfect

* “What a horrendous crime. Keep strong champ and hope you get back on the bike soon.” - Colin Richardson.

* “I am deeply saddened by what happened but I know that it is all in the plan for you to continue on your journey! Don’t let this stop you! Get back and show them that you will not be kept down!” - Katya De Magalhaes

* “You never know how strong you are until you have no choice! You are a fighter and a survivor. Looking forward to seeing you back on your bike!!” - Rob and Lori Wesselo

* “May the love you feel from strangers help you overcome the fear and fuel your recovery.” – Anonymous