‘I’m not a hero, I just like to help’

2009-12-12 00:00

EVEN though Pietermaritzburg teenager Sinethemba Mchunu saved a little boy from drowning, she refuses to call herself a heroine.

Sinethemba risked her life to save a six-year-old boy who had gotten into difficulty while swimming at Durban’s North Beach last weekend. She almost drowned while saving the boy when both were swept under a massive wave.

While she admits she could have died, the humble 15-year-old from Sweetwaters told Weekend Witness that she would do it again if someone was in trouble.

Sinethemba and her family were attending a baptism on the beach on Sunday when she heard screams for help.

“I looked out to sea and saw these tiny hands waving. I knew that I had to help him so I swam out to sea and grabbed him,” she said.

She supported the terrified child with one hand while she used the other to swim towards the shore.

Just as she was a few metres from the shore, a huge wave crashed over them and swept them underneath.

“I thought we were going to die. I tried my best to hold on to the boy. I didn’t want to let go because I knew that he would be swept deeper into the water,” she said.

Both were unconscious when lifeguards pulled them from the water. They were taken to Addington Hospital where she spent the night. Her worried parents waited at her bedside through the night, grateful that their daughter was alive.

Sinethemba did not get a chance to meet the boy she saved as he was taken away by his parents.

“It would be great to meet him. I’m glad that God gave me the strength to help him. I hope that wherever he is, that he is okay and happy,” she said.

So what does Sinethemba think of her heroine status?

“I don’t think I’m a hero, I just like helping people. My friends and my parents are very excited, but I think it’s nothing. I’m just happy that I was able to help someone,” she said.

She admits, though, that she is a brave person and hopes to use this trait to help more people.

“I want to be a lifeguard so I can save more people. I think they have an important job. Saving that boy has helped me realise what I want to do with my life,” she said.

Her father, Mhlengi, said that he is extremely proud of his daughter.

“This Christmas is going to be a great one. We have lots to celebrate,”

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