Ouma, 82, survives stray bullet to chest

2017-04-20 08:27
Eileena Martin, 82, in her Lavender Hill home. She survived being hit by a stray bullet that pierced her lounge window. (Tammy Petersen/News24)

Eileena Martin, 82, in her Lavender Hill home. She survived being hit by a stray bullet that pierced her lounge window. (Tammy Petersen/News24)

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Cape Town – Eileena Martin, 82, stands defiantly in front of her lounge window in her two-bedroom council flat, looking out onto the streets of Lavender Hill. Two bullet holes have cracked the glass, but she refuses to cower and hide in the home she has lived in for over 20 years.

"The only time I will be taken out of here is when the Lord comes," Martin insists.

Her family feared that that day had come on Tuesday, when a stray bullet pierced the window of her Shepherd Court home, hitting Martin in the chest.

But Mamma, as she is known, is back home a day after her near-death experience, adamant that she will not give up her home because of trigger-happy gangsters.

A number of her neighbours have bullet holes in their windows and doors since violence flared up in the area between the Mongrels, Corner Boys and Fast Guns gangs two weeks ago.

Martin was in the lounge of her flat carrying some food for a neighbour’s dog when shots rang out before midday on Tuesday.

One hit her in the chest just as she opened the front door. Her neighbour and nephew, Coby Naude, heard Martin shout that she had been shot.

'It's a miracle'

"I stepped onto the landing and grabbed her, pulling her into my house. I laid her down on the ground and told her to keep calm. Mamma was still and tried to relax, but I panicked because there was nothing else I could do – it was hell outside as the bullets were flying."

His wife, Sabina, phoned the police and an ambulance. Paramedics cleaned and bandaged the wound and took her to the local healthcare centre.

"It’s a miracle Mamma wasn’t killed. Both the bullet and the stress to her angina heart could have been the end of her," a distressed Sabina said.

Martin waves off the concern of neighbours who pop in to see how she is doing.

"Ag, I am fine," she says, dismissively. "The Lord is good."

She admits she was shaken when she realised she had been shot.

"I can’t explain the feeling, but I was in shock. But that was yesterday. Today I feel much better."

'I sleep on the floor at night'

Shortly before the bullet pierced her window, she had been hanging up her washing when youngsters warned that gang shootings were expected.

She calmly hung the rest of her washing, including her favourite jeans, before taking the stairs to her second-storey home.

"I am disappointed in those who are shooting and upsetting the community. What they are doing is wrong," Martin says with a shake of her head.

Sabina admits she is worried about her aunt’s well-being.

"Even I am afraid to be living here. At night, I sleep on the floor with my daughter in case stray bullets come through our windows. What about Mamma, who lives alone?"

But the fiercely independent mother of three says while she will be spending a few nights at her children’s homes, she will never move out of her flat.

"This is my home – it has been for all these years, and will be for years to come. I am not going to let something like this force me out of here."

Read more on:    cape town  |  gangs  |  crime  |  shooting

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