Pitbull attack survivor wants to save lives

Siyamthanda Bakamela
Siyamthanda Bakamela

Johannesburg - Ten-year old Siyamthanda Bakamela, who survived a pitbull attack last year, wants to become a doctor and help people.

“One day, I want to become a doctor and save people’s lives like they fought to save mine that day,” Bakamela says.

Bakamala believes she can be an inspiration to young amputees like herself.

Behind this dream is a disastrous event that changed the young girl’s life. 

In May last year, two pitbulls attacked the Grade 5 pupil at her home in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, as she was returning home from her school, Verney College. 

At the time, the girl and her parents were living in a Wendy house in the backyard of the dogs’ owner. They have since moved to a flat in the area.

She was rushed to Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in a serious condition. She sustained an infection to her right leg. Her kidneys collapsed and she was placed on a ventilator. Doctors had to amputate her right leg to save her life.

The SPCA removed the dogs.

However, that dreadful day did not change Siyathanda’s outlook on life. It was merely the start of a new fight.  

“If they asked me to change, I would not want to be anyone else than myself in this world,” she says, smiling. 

She wants to inspire young girls to be strong and have faith.

Education is key for Siyamthanda and her favourite subjects are mathematics, English and Afrikaans. 

“To be a doctor, you need to study hard and you also need to know mathematics,” she says.

Her father, Vusi Khumalo, says his daughter now needs more support.

'She can achieve anything'

“It is not easy at all, we struggle a lot. We are trying very hard to cope, but Siya needs more care now. I was the only breadwinner at the time and my wife only got work last month. We urgently need help to support the needs of my daughter.” 

Despite her needs and disability, Khumalo believes Siyamthanda can achieve anything she wants. 

“My wish for her is to keep believing in herself and I will always support her,” he says.

The Dis-Chem Foundation and medical prosthetist Roger Wolfson and Associates helped Siyamthanda get her first prosthetic leg. 

The young girl’s leg has to be fitted regularly and adapted as she grows. It is made by hand and takes hours of assembling pieces and casts to ensure the perfect fit.

The cost over the next three years is between R500 000 and R700 000. Counselling is also a continuing process.

Fighting to hold back his emotions, Khumalo says he has no idea where the money will come from. 

“All we need now is help, because on our own we will never make it. I just pray that God will make a way for us,” he says. 

- If you would like to help Siyamthanda and her family, contact the Dis-Chem Foundation on careline@dischem.co.za 

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