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SOUTH AFRICA

Gwala: South African triathlete narrates chainsaw attack

Gwala: South African triathlete narrates chainsaw attack


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Mhlengi Gwala, the South African triathlete who last week was attacked by chainsaw-wielding criminals as he was training in Durban, has recounted his experience to SA news site The Independent.

Unknown language

Recovering from surgery, the 27-year-old athlete revealed that his attackers spoke a language that he did not understand.

"It was a funny language. I didn’t hear the words. They were not speaking isiZulu," he told the media outlet from his bed at Durban's Netcare St Augustine's Hospital.

"I didn’t understand [them] but I am still confused."

Despite having few details to offer on the attackers' words, Gwala was able to describe their actions.

"They cut me and then the one who was cutting stopped and then he went to look [at something]. I don’t know what he was checking. But then he came back and said [to the others] - let's go - and then they ran away."

Gwala crawled along the road

Badly injured, Gwala lay on the roadside and managed to reach his phone to try to contact the police.

"The police didn’t respond. Then I decided that I had to crawl with this one leg to the road.

"Some security guards [from Fidelity Security Regional] stopped their cars and I told the guy - take me to hospital.

"They took me straight to Albert Luthuli Hospital."

Later on, he was transferred to Netcare St. Augustine’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery.

According to police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala, investigations into the incident are taking place.

Guard who helped Gwala narrates his find

Francois Bartmann, Fidelity Security regional executive and superior of officer Themba Gumede, the security guard who rushed Gwala to hospital, recounted last week's events.

According to Bartmann, Gumede was patrolling along Rick Turner Road on Tuesday morning when he saw Gwala at the side of the road, waving a flashlight.

"He told our officer that he had just been attacked. Officer Gumede immediately transported him to the closest medical facility, Albert Luthuli Hospital where Mr Gwala received medical assistance," Bartmann said.

Get Mhlengi back on bike

On Wednesday morning, a crowdfunding campaign entitled 'Get Mhlengi back on his bike' was launched.

"We are hoping to raise funds to support him with all his medical expenses, transportation, bike replacement and rehabilitation costs," the crowdfunding campaign's webpage reads.

"We want to see him back on his bike!"

A target of R750,000 (€51,435) was posted. After five days, a total amount of R679,702 (€46,614) has been gathered.

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