Dad steps in after woman is set alight

The family of a 25-year-old woman is pleading for help to save her life after she was
assaulted and set alight, allegedly by her comedian boyfriend.

Tshifiwa Nedidi, from Lwamondo Mutandani village outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo, was hit with a hard object covered with a plastic and set alight, allegedly by Tambudzeni Rasendedza aka Mr Bundu.

Tshifiwa's father Godfrey Nedidi, 60, said he was shocked to find his daughter struggling to walk from injuries she sustained last month.

"She was beaten and burnt on August 16, and I found out [about the assault] this month after a call from a concerned neighbour. My daughter was not even allowed to go out because people would see her injuries and inform the police.

"I found out on September 17 and went straight to Bundu's house and fetched my daughter. I took her to Vuwani police station to open a case and he was arrested the next day," he said.

Godfrey said the Venda comedian will end up killing his daughter as she keeps going back into his arms.

"As I'm talking to you, she went back to his house despite everything that had happened between them. Every time he beats her, she goes back to him. I need all the help I can get to rescue my daughter from that man, he is evil and will kill her," he said.

Rasendedza, who does his comedy in Venda, said he acted in "self-defence" when his girlfriend attempted to burn his house.

"We had an argument and she lit a plastic with the intention of burning my house and ended up burning herself. There is nothing I did to her; I can't apologise for her injuries because I'm not the one who set her alight," he said.

The comedian said his girlfriend had apologised for what she did. He further accused her of trying to ruin his career.

"I found out that my girlfriend and some of her family members reported me to the police in order to ruin my career.

"Now the family, including my girlfriend, wants to withdraw the charges because they are wrong," he said.

He denied that he is a serial abuser.

Godfrey said it was not true that the family wanted to withdraw the charges. He said his daughter had tried to get the charges dropped, but the prosecutor in the case declined the request.

"It was my daughter who asked the police officers [to withdraw the charges] and we refused because we want justice to take its course. Whatever Mr Bundu is saying, [he] will tell the court," he said.

Police spokesperson Const Maphure Manamela said Rasendedza has been charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

"He was granted R750 bail and his case has been postponed to October 25 for further police investigations," she said.

Manamela said the woman left her home to pay a visit to her boyfriend.

"On arrival at her boyfriend's home, the boyfriend allegedly assaulted her with a hard object. The victim was later taken to the hospital for medical treatment."

Advocacy manager for Women and Men Against Child Abuse Ngaa Murombedzi said in many cases in which the victim has returned back to the person who nearly killed her, they find that the victim relied on the perpetrator for emotional and financial support.

"It's clear that the victim needs psychological help to break from depending on this man who will end up killing her. We need to find out what brought them together and why is she going back to him," she said.

She said if the alleged abuser was out on bail he shouldn't be close to the victim or witness.

"It will be interesting how the case will unfold in court" she said. "For the good of his child's life, the father should monitor the case."

Murombedzi also questioned the bail amount, saying the crime outweighs it.

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