In a devastating incident that has shocked the community of Lawaaikamp in South Africa, a 23-year-old woman named Sivenathi Toto has been left paralyzed and with severe brain injury after a brutal attack by her boyfriend’s rival. The incident, which occurred on August 26, 2022, has left Toto’s family seeking justice and struggling to come to terms with the immense trauma she has endured.
According to Toto’s cousin, Nosikhumbuzo Mhlaba, the attack was driven by revenge. Toto’s boyfriend had engaged in a fight with the suspect, Shaun Madonono, and in a twisted act of retaliation, Madonono targeted Toto. Tragically, Toto’s boyfriend was not present at the time of the attack, and she was sleeping in his outside room.
The assailant, Madonono, forcefully entered the premises, breaking down the door and dragging Toto to his house located two streets away. There, he subjected her to a severe and relentless assault until she lost consciousness. Unimaginably, Madonono then abandoned her near a Total garage on Nelson Mandela Boulevard.
Toto’s harrowing ordeal was discovered by a petrol attendant who found her during the night.
She was subsequently taken home by a concerned neighbour. The following day, a case was filed at the local police station. Toto was then rushed to the hospital for a medical examination, which revealed the extent of her injuries. Madonono was arrested on the same day but has since been released on bail, facing charges of assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and housebreaking. The legal proceedings have been ongoing, with a court appearance at the Thembalethu Magistrate’s Court on May 10, 2023. The case had been postponed to May 30.
The proximity of Madonono’s current residence to the victim’s family has added to the distress of Toto’s loved ones. To compound matters, Toto experienced a stroke in December 2022, believed to be a consequence of the traumatic incident. In April, she was admitted to the hospital again, where doctors discovered blood clots on her brain.
The physical and emotional toll on Toto has been profound.
She has lost some of her cognitive abilities, struggles to walk without assistance and has lost control over her urinary tract movements. Toto requires constant care, with her family reporting that she experiences night terrors and is unable to communicate verbally. The only solace she finds is sleeping beside her father, where she feels safe.
Nadia Ferreira, the district spokesperson for the Western Cape Health Department, confirmed the multiple hospital admissions Toto has undergone since the attack. She received care at George Hospital in August 2022, twice in February of the current year and once in April. Following a decline in her condition, Toto was discharged in May with a rehabilitation support plan and chronic medication.
The devastating consequences of this heinous act extend beyond Toto’s physical condition. Her mother, Natasha, had to leave her job to become her primary caregiver. Previously, she worked as a supervisor for her father’s business, Ceduma Maintenance, further compounding the family’s hardship.
The images accompanying this article offer a glimpse into the heartbreaking reality faced by Sivenathi Toto and her family.