WATCH | KZN mother recalls gruesome attack in which partner tried to cut off her arms

05 December 2019 - 17:48 By Orrin Singh
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A KwaZulu-Natal woman had her arms chopped off and her skull cracked, allegedly by her husband, in full view of her two-year-old child. Subscribe to MultimediaLIVE here: Comment Moderation Policy:

A 35-year-old KwaZulu-Natal teacher and mother of three has spoken out after a gruesome attack in which her partner nearly severed both her arms.

Barely moving from her trauma unit bed at St Augustine's hospital in Durban, Happiness Nxumalo described how her partner viciously attacked her with a bush knife in plain view of her two-year-old daughter.

TimesLIVE learnt that the attack took place about 1pm in the Mngamunde area of Nongoma on Monday and not on Tuesday in uMkhuze, in northern KZN, as initially reported by a provincial spokesperson.

Nxumalo said: “He took a knife, a big bush knife, and he cut my hands — both hands — and he cut all over my body, on my elbows, on my head. I got hurt very badly and there was lots of blood. There was a baby, my one, she was only two years (old) — she was crying, I was crying.”

She wasn't able to say why her partner attacked her.

She told reporters that her partner had previously hit her but she had forgiven him. After the attack she said she believed he committed suicide.

“He took a rope and he committed suicide. I called the neighbours and went to the local clinic. The ambulance called a helicopter, they took me to St Augustine's where Dr Simango helped me a lot. I feel much better. I'm hoping I will be OK,” she said.

KZN spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele confirmed that the 35-year-old woman was attacked with a bush knife at Mngamunde Reserve.

“An incident was reported to Nongoma police. On arrival, police found the alleged suspect, 38, hanging from the roof of their house. The victim was taken to hospital for medical attention. A case of attempted murder and an inquest docket were opened at Nongoma police station,” she said.

Nxumalo was airlifted to St Augustine's hospital later that evening.

Dr Stephen Simango, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who operated on Nxumalo, said her life would never be the same again.

He said she had extensive cuts to her arms, hands and back and at least eight wounds to her head, one of which had fractured her skull.

“Her life has been changed totally — psychologically, functionally, in all respects of life she is different.”

Simango said the nerves and tendons in Nxumalo's right hand, which had been almost completely severed, were extensively damaged.

“So sensation and everything is affected, including the major artery that supplies blood to the hand — which made it very urgent for her to come in.”

He said Nxumalo's right hand was her dominant hand.

“Teachers need to write and in that hand she has lost function. But what we are going to do is to try by all means to restore function in that hand, which would mean several operations, several interventions — including oxygen and other things, whatever we can get — in order to preserve that hand which is our priority,” he said.

Acting KZN premier and MEC for finance Ravi Pillay appealed to members of the public to look at the signs and intervene in situations where they feel that those who are vulnerable are at risk.

“I would like to make an appeal to society as a whole and our families in particular, and it's been said many times before, that those of us who are other family members, neighbours, observers — because someone must have observed that there was a problem here — must facilitate some kind of intervention, that is our duty as members of society.

He said there was a deeper psychological question that needed to be answered — why men in society commit such acts of violence.

“For now we want to give support to the family and make things manageable, if things can be manageable in these kinds of circumstances.”

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