Man will complete studies
Nearly two months after losing his right arm in a freak accident at work, Mtshengiseni Mntungwa has had to learn to tie his shoelaces and wash himself like a child again.
His time in hospital has helped him deal with his disability. Wearing a T-shirt with the words Amputated but not cremated, Mntungwa is determined to rebuild his life so that he can care for his family again.
"It is strange because it feels like my arm is still attached to my body. It still feels as if I can use my fingers to count again," he says touching his bandaged stump.
The 26-year-old father of two from KwaThema, Ekurhuleni, is recovering at a rehabilitation hospital in Johannesburg in readiness for a prosthetic arm.
Faced with an uncertain future, Mntungwa's aim is to learn to write again and complete his college studies.
Mntungwa used to work on industrial machines at Maksal Tubes, a factory that manufactures copper pipes in Springs, Ekurhuleni.
After working at the factory for five years, he was moved to another department in February, where the accident happened.
"I was greasing the machine when my hand was pulled in and crushed by the gears."
His right arm was hacked off just above his elbow. Miraculously, he did not feel any pain that time, he said.
"When I finally realised what had happened, the machine had already crushed the bone. There was just blood and a little bit of flesh left."
Mntungwa was airlifted to Union Hospital where he was treated and later referred to Net-care Rehabilitation Hospital.
"I still don't know how long I will be here or what will happen to me when I leave. I have accepted that I can't replace my arm but I am willing to learn another skill that could be of use to me in the future."
Maksal human resources manager Llewellyn Davids said it was still "premature" to comment about Mntungwa's future at the factory.
"It's difficult to say what will happen to him. We will have to wait for him to recover."