The blonde Australian woman guards the San hunter’s hospital bed here in Windhoek like a protective tigress. But when she softly strokes the pink scabs on his face he can’t help but chuckle.
When you hear their story you realise why their bond is so strong – it was literally forged by fire.
The woman is Jane Bean (52), a tourist. And if it weren’t for Cgunta G/aq’o (40), the man in the hospital bed, and four other San of the Ju/’hoansi tribe, she probably would’ve perished in a veld fire while on holiday in Namibia.
Three of the men, all Cgunta’s relatives, didn’t survive after shielding Jane from the flames with their bodies. The fifth, Cgunta’s brother, Bertus G/aq’o, escaped with less serious injuries than his brother.
It’s a month later and Jane, an official of the charity Oxfam, should’ve returned to Australia by now but she’s postponed her departure to watch over her rescuer in a Windhoek private hospital.
Read more of Alet van Zyl’s article in YOU 11 October 2012.