The Herald (South Africa)

Stabbing victim conscious but not talking

Student recovering slowly in hospital, say parents

- Gareth Wilson wilsong@tisoblacks­

THE Nelson Mandela University student who was stabbed multiple times during a suspected robbery at a Summerstra­nd home last week has regained consciousn­ess after being in a medically induced coma for more than five days.

Lwandile Madikizela, 20, from East London, was attacked in his flatlet in Gomery Place and has been in the intensive care unit (ICU) at St George’s Hospital since Wednesday last week.

Lwandile’s visibly relieved parents, from Pretoria, said their son – a thirdyear tourism management student – regained consciousn­ess on Sunday but was still unable to talk.

Lwandile’s father, Bonani, 51, a research manager at the Water Research Commission in Pretoria, said that while his son’s condition was improving, he would remain in the ICU for observatio­n.

“He is now breathing by himself and conscious. We are just so relieved that he is making good progress.

“He cannot talk but he is responding to us by squeezing our hands and moving his legs,” Bonani said with a sigh of relief.

“He is going to go for therapy soon so that doctors can establish a way forward.”

Bonani said they had received a panicked call from a medic who was treating their son at the house.

“It was during the early hours of [Wednesday] morning and the medic who was on the scene called us.

“As he told us of the attack, we both just froze. It is the worst phone call anyone could ever get,” he said.

“You panic. I started to cry, it was very emotional.”

Within hours of the call, Bonani had booked plane tickets to Port Elizabeth for himself and his wife.

“I contacted my office and they gave me a week off work to come to Port Elizabeth and be with my son.

“It was just such a rush and we grabbed anything we thought we would need and rushed to the airport.

“It was the longest flight of my life. It felt like it was never going to end,” he said.

“When the plane landed we rushed straight to the hospital. Emotions were high and we are still very traumatise­d about this attack.”

Since arriving in Port Elizabeth, neither parent has been able to sleep or eat.

“You just do not want to leave the hospital in case something happens.”

Bonani said while the motive for the attack was unknown, detectives were following up leads.

“We have met with the police and told them that we want speedy results. Not only for my son, but also for the safety of all the other students,” he said.

“Because we are not sure of the motive, the hospital has tightened security around him just in case whoever did this returns. We have also spoken to the university and they are very helpful about this situation.

“They are also revising their safety measures for their students.”

Lwandile’s mother, Nomonde Timakwe, 51, said Lwandile had grown up in East London but moved to Port Elizabeth to study. “We moved to Pretoria while he and his brother moved to Port Elizabeth to study.

“He loves power-lifting and is very into fitness and exercise. He had no set plans for when he finishes his degree, but was looking at furthering his studies,” she said.

“Since the attack we have had so many phone calls from concerned friends and family. Many of them are making their way to Port Elizabeth from various parts of the country.”

While no timeline could be given as to when Lwandile would be discharged, Nomonde said they would discuss whether he should move to Gauteng with them until he had fully recovered.

Fifteen hours after the attack on Lwandile, Aobakwe Modisane, 23, a law student, was stabbed in the chest during a robbery on the outskirts of the university’s north campus.

Modisane, who is from Botswana, was attacked when three men pounced on him, holding him at knife-point.

Police spokesman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said they were still hunting for the culprits in both attacks.

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