Mhlengi Gwala (26), a star triathlete from Chesterville in KZN, was attacked by three men who attempted to cut one of his legs off using a handsaw in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Gwala, was cycling near the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College Campus) around 3.30am when he was stopped by three men and dragged into the bushes.
Mhlengi told his attackers to take his valuables, including his iPhone, Garmin and his bicycle, but the men were not interested in his personal items and proceeded to cut into his legs. Luckily, security guards came to Gwala’s rescue and he was taken to a private hospital.
Mhlengi’s story sparked outrage and the senseless act made local and international headlines. Hoping to raise funds for Mhleng’s medical treatment, JP Valverde from My Project Generator set up a BackaBuddy crowdfunding campaign.
In a few short hours, the crowdfunding campaign, surpassed the R150 000 mark as South Africans opened their hearts and sent messages of support to the athlete who was then undergoing surgery. Donations ranging from R10 to R10 000 with the support of over 898 donors local and abroad contributed to an overwhelming total of R480 000.
The funds, managed by BackaBuddy, will go towards covering Mhlengi’s medical fees, transportation‚ bike replacement and rehabilitation costs, says JP.
“Through their generosity, South Africans have once again proven, that as a society we will stand up for those affected by senseless acts of violence. One anonymous donation on BackaBuddy said it best, ‘May the love you feel from strangers help you overcome the fear and fuel your recovery.’ ” – says BackaBuddy, CEO, Patrick Schofield.
Mhlengi’s friend and training partner, Sandile Shange said the operation had been a success after speaking to him last night.
“He is able to talk and is in a lot of pain understandably. He is a strong-minded person and he has been blown away by the support shown by fellow South Africans,” he said.
Inspiring messages are coming in strong in support of the star athlete.
“Let the tar burn with fury when you return!” – Anonymous
“I’m sorry that you went through this. Remember, there are more good South Africans out there than bad ones. Get well soon.” – A concerned South African Citzen
“I cheered you in on Sunday at the Durban Ultra Tri and now I cheer you on to a speedy recovery!” – Melanie Perfect
“What a horrendous crime. Keep strong champ and hope you get back on the bike soon.” – Colin Richardson.
“I am deeply saddened by what happened but I know that it is all in the plan for you to continue on your journey! Don’t let this stop you! Get back and show them that you will not be kept down!” – Katya De Magalhaes
“You never know how strong you are until you have no choice! You are a fighter and a survivor. Looking forward to seeing you back on your bike!!” – Rob and Lori Wesselo
“May the love you feel from strangers help you overcome the fear and fuel your recovery.” – Anonymous
Support Mhlengi’s campaign here
BackaBuddy has raised over R58.18 Million for various charities, individuals and causes across South Africa.
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