Muti-murder survivor needs operations to heal face

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The family of Nyelisani Sidimela, the woman who survived a ritual-related attack two years ago, is grateful for the money she has been given to help her pay for her medical expenses.

Sidimela, 20, needs plastic surgery to replace her lips and chin. Yesterday she received a cheque for R160000 from different companies in Limpopo.

Sidimela was attacked while on a date with her boyfriend Maanda Sendeza in the bushes of Shadani-Makonde village near Thohoyandou on October 22 2005.

The body of Sendeza, 27, was found with his genitals and tongue sliced off.

He died on the scene after the gruesome attack. The attackers apparently left Sidimela for dead after slicing off her lips.

She miraculously gained consciousness and survived to tell of her harrowing ordeal at the hands of muti murderers.

Traditional healer Balanganani Munyai, 86, Bishop Joseph Tanzwani, 73, Mukondeleli Phosha, 54, and Shumani Dzebu, 31, were each given two life sentences after they were found guilty of the murder of Sendeza, the attempted murder of Sidimela, and of robbery.

At the handing-over of the cheque at the SABC offices in Polokwane yesterday, Sidimela said she still could not forgive her attackers. Though she spoke with difficulty, she said she was feeling better.

"I still have hopes that I will heal completely.

"Especially with the help of caring people and companies in the province, as you can see by the amount they have donated.

"I have a strong belief that it's only a matter of time before I recover completely," she said.

Her father, Nkhumeleni Sidimela, 53, said he was grateful for the kindness shown in making donations towards her medical expenses.

"It has been difficult for the family to figure out how we were supposed to raise such a huge amount for her operation.

"But with the kind of support we are getting, we have no reason to complain," he said.

Hospital officials said she needed at least R360000 for further operations help her heal completely.

SABC regional manager Victor Ravhuandzwu said they would lobby more companies to give money towards Nyelisani's medical expenses.