KO­MANI res­i­dent Theresa Hoog­stander stands proud de­spite her heav­ily scarred legs, which bear tes­ti­mony to a hor­ror as­sault by her for­mer hus­band.

Hoog­stander, 54, of Victoria Park, said she would never for­get her late hus­band or his abuse.

They were mar­ried in 1995 and lived in Klip­town near Jo­han­nes­burg while wait­ing for an RDP house. She used to work night shifts, which made her hus­band jeal­ous.

“One night we were hav­ing a quar­rel and I asked him to switch on the flame stove so that I could cook sup­per.”

She said he pushed her on to the burn­ing stove, re­sult­ing in her ny­lon dress catch­ing alight.

As she screamed, she said he poured wa­ter on her burnt legs and waist.

“He car­ried me to the room and I asked him to give me one of the new blan­kets, I just wanted to be in ut­ter dark­ness and wait for my death. I prayed and said, “Oh God, I don't know if I will make it tonight, only you know.”

She asked him to call an am­bu­lance and he left, only to re­turn to tell her that his call had gone to voice­mail. He then al­legedly went to a tavern.

“He said he went back to try again and got voice­mail again, but I know he lied, he went to get drunk and pa­tiently waited for me to die.”

In the morn­ing, he dis­ap­peared and did not re­turn. She heard boys play­ing out­side and called them to help her.

The boys called an am­bu­lance and when the paramedics ar­rived at her house, they couldn’t be­lieve she was still alive.

She spent a year in the Chris Hani Barag­wanath burns unit with third-de­gree burns, some of the time in a coma, and suf­fered a stroke.

“I saw a mus­cu­lar man with black pants, a white T-shirt and golden hair who touched me and I could open my eyes. He was an an­gel from God.”

She un­der­went sev­eral skin grafts, and thanked the doc­tors and God for sav­ing her life.

Hoog­stander's mother, Nel­lie Fer­reira, said she had been dev­as­tated about what had hap­pened to her daugh­ter. Her brother, Pe­dro Fer­reira, said he was pleased that she was well again.

Hoog­stander, whose hus­band died a year af­ter her as­sault, said she pitied any man who abused women.

She urged women in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships to get out of the re­la­tion­ship and pray for the man.


BURNT BUT NOT DE­STROYED: Ko­mani res­i­dent Theresa Hoog­stander bravely shows the third-de­gree burns that stretch from her waist to her toes caused by her late hus­band

LOOK­ING OUT: Clint le Roux’s ‘Moun­tain with a View’ taken from Longhill, ended in the top three of week five of The Rep’s photo com­pe­ti­tion

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