Stray bullet lodges in woman’s back
WASEEMA Pierie narrowly escaped paralysis and will spend the rest of her life with a bullet in her back after becoming a statistic in the resurgence of gang violence in Manenberg.
The 23-year-old mother of two was hit by a stray bullet on Tuesday while walking home with her four-year-old daughter Zaharaa from a nearby shop on Renoster Street, one of the four major battlegrounds of the Americans and Hard Livings gangs.
Pierie said she hadn’t even realised she’d been shot until she saw her hand was covered in blood.
“I heard the first shot whiz through the air. Getting my daughter to safety was my only concern so I grabbed her and ran into a neighbour’s house. I felt a pain from my lower back, and felt a wet and warm sensation when I put my hand on it. When I looked at my hand, it was covered in my own blood.”
Pierie was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors told her the bullet was lodged five centimetres from her spine and it was highly likely that if they operated to remove it, she would be permanently paralysed.
“When I was shot the only thing I cared about was Zaharaa and my eight-monthold son Zayaad. Even if the bullet is in my back for the rest of my life, at least I’ll be there for my children.”
Pierie is on medication for the pain, and says the proximity of the bullet to her spine causes her right leg to twitch.
And now, she adds, she’s terrified to leave the house.
“We won’t go outside unless we know the police car is patrolling the area or a Nyala is stationed in the road.”
Two weeks ago a stray bullet killed Pierie’s neighbour Garnit Lottering, 17.
His sister, Ragiema Isaacs, said she was still shaken by her brother’s death.
“On the night he died I warned Garnit that they had been shooting outside earlier, and he said he would be back soon. My daughter came to my room 10 minutes later and told me Garnit had been shot.
“We lost our mother last year and I tried my best to look after him, as a sister and a mother. I was in denial about his death until the day of the funeral. I think that was the first time I accepted that I would never see my brother alive again,” she said.
LIVING IN FEAR: Waseema Pierie narrowly escaped paralysis when she was shot in the back while walking on Renoster Street with her daughter.