DURBAN – TRIATHLETE Mhlengi Gwala is back on his feet and could be discharged from hospital this coming week because of the significant progress he has made in his recovery.
Earlier this month, Gwala was attacked by three men who tried to saw off his legs – the incident happened in the early hours of the morning during his training ride from his home in Chesterville through Glenwood.
On Friday night when The Independent on Saturday visited Gwala in hospital, his mother was by his bedside rubbing his right foot around his ankle.
“The pain is much, much better than it was before, and I am recovering well and taking it easy,” said Gwala.
Gwala’s close friend, Sandile Shange, was delighted the athlete could now walk slowly without crutches for a short distance.
“He can use a wheelchair now, and walks with crutches – he has made great progress that his physiotherapy nurses and doctors are happy about,” he said.
Shange said Gwala would probably be discharged on Monday, but would not be moving back to his home in Chesterville.
He would instead relocate to another property.
“The move is simply because his home is not wheelchair-friendly.”
When Gwala was ambushed, his attackers took nothing from him. He had his cellhotophone and watch on him as well as his bicycle, which has left some concern for his family and friends, especially because there have been no arrests in the case.
Shange said Gwala could also not go back to his Chesterville home just yet because of a safety concern.
“We don’t know who did this and why – now, because no one has been arrested, we have no guarantee that they will not attack again,” Shange said.
He said the crowd-funding initiative Backabuddy, which had now raised enough money to pay for Gwala’s medical bills, was also a contributing factor to his move to another property.
“We are worried that some people might think they have access to the money and invade their home, so it’s not safe at the moment,” he said.
Meanwhile Shange, while visiting Gwala on Thursday afternoon, had his bicycle stolen off the car he had been travelling in – the bike was tied to the back of the vehicle.
Shange hopes to find the bicycle when the car guard, who was on duty when it was stolen, returns to work.
“The parking inside the hospital was full, so I parked on the road. When I went back to the car to get something, I noticed that the bicycle was gone and I just panicked.
“I went straight to social media, hoping that somebody might have seen something,” he said, adding that he spent most of the day searching for his stolen bike.
“I have been driving around, asking about the bike,” he said.