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Childhood advice helps woman survive croc attack

FOR Ms Tholiwe Moyo (53) of Bulawayo’s Makokoba suburb, the only thing that mattered was coming out alive after a crocodile sank its teeth into her leg at Kana River in Lupane.
The mother of five children was attacked by the crocodile in Lusulu Village while crossing the river in the company of her 72-year-old sister Mrs Susan Nkonjera. The two Makokoba residents had gone to Lupane for a relative’s funeral.

The reptile attacked both of them but Ms Moyo, who is recovering at Mpilo Central Hospital, was dragged deep into the water by the crocodile.

She fought it off and childhood advice from village elders that one must hit a crocodile on the nose for it to let go, saved her life decades later.

By her family’s account, she is the first person to be attacked by a crocodile at Kana River.

Ms Moyo, who travelled to Lupane last Monday and was attacked on Wednesday, said she had no idea that there was a crocodile in the river.

“Before crossing the river Kana, I tried to analyse how to step on the logs that were put in the river to help people to cross. I just felt something hit me on the face with so much force and the next thing I saw myself inside the water with the crocodile grabbing my left leg. I screamed the name Jesus a lot while trying to fight and I knew I would survive the attack,” she said.

Ms Moyo said when the crocodile bit her left hand, she took a risk and shoved her right hand inside its mouth trying to open it wider to free the other hand.

“While I was in the water and fighting it, the crocodile left my leg and then grabbed my left arm. I had no option but to hit the crocodile’s nose and then shoved my right hand into its mouth and that’s when it let me go.

“I had to beat the crocodile on the nose so that it would lose strength and leave me. This was a technique I grew up hearing elders talking about. After I hit the crocodile on its nose, it left me. During the time all this was happening, the only thing I managed to shout was the name of Jesus who was and still is my saviour. I believe God saved me and helped me gain the strength to do all the acts of fighting the crocodile,” said Ms Moyo.

Mrs Nkonjera said she thought her sibling would not survive the crocodile attack.

“When we were crossing the river going to see relatives, we did not face any problems but upon crossing going back home that’s when tragedy struck. As we were about to cross while standing at the edge of the river, I told my sister to carefully step on the tree logs that were put inside the river because she has one eye,” she said.

“In a few minutes, I just heard something that hit me very hard on my left side and fell down on the right side and I was confused. I then heard my young sister screaming, making a huge noise and shouting Jesus. That’s when I rose and I asked her what was happening and she said she had been bitten by a crocodile.”

Mrs Nkonjera said she grabbed hold of a log and asked her sister to reach out and grab it but she could not.

Read Also: Boy Fights Off Crocodile, Saved By Goat As It Pounces Second Time

She said she then saw Ms Moyo coming out of the river in the opposite direction from where she was standing.

“I was shocked that my sister had the strength to come out of the river after a struggle with the crocodile. Luckily there were men who were travelling in a donkey-drawn cart, who I asked to help. They crossed over and brought her to me,” said Mrs Nkonjera.

“I rushed and touched her to see if she was still alive and she was. I then asked her if she was feeling well and she said she has no energy and was in pain. Those were the only words she said. I tried to bandage her wounds but I was shaking and in fear because I have never experienced like that before.”

When the men left her, Mrs Nkonjera said she screamed and shouted for help because the area had no cellphone network until their relatives’ neighbors heard her.

As it was already dark, the neighbours helped them to get transport and they travelled back to Bulawayo the same night after the attack.

She said her sister has been hospitalised at Mpilo since then.

Mrs Nkonjera said Ms Moyo is a single mother and a breadwinner taking care of her family through sewing uniforms and selling them along Lobengula street in Bulawayo.

She said her sister’s family is now struggling and appealed for help from well-wishers.

“She is a hard-working woman who takes care of me as her sister because I am a widow too. Her children are not working but she had taken them through Ordinary level education except for one child who is doing form one at Mzilikazi High School. In terms of rent payments, we are also worried about what will happen because she was paying through her business,” said Mrs Nkonjera

She said money is also needed to pay hospital bills and medical consumables like vacuum dressing that costs US$150 every five days.

“The vacuum dressing is done to prevent amputation of her legs. The vacuum sucks all the infection that was caused by the crocodile and kills all the germs that were causing the wound to rot. So, we pay US $150 dollars every week besides other expenses which is too much for the family,” she said.

Those who are willing to help may contact Ms Moyo’s son Ashington Marowa on 0785424523. Chronicle

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