Lungelo stays positive even without a prosthetic leg

Ms Lungelo Sukazi is an inspiration to all who meets her.

SECUNDA – Ms Lungelo Sukazi (33) loves shoes and high heels are her favourite.

Even with only one leg and her crutches, she is more steadfast on a platform shoe than what many two-legged women can only dream of being.

Her warm smile and bubbly personality easily draw the attention away from the empty place where her left leg should have been.

This stylish administrative clerk at the Secunda Police Station also seems so adapt to her disability, it is hard to think the accident in which she lost her leg, happened only a year ago.

Ms Sukazi was staying with her parents, Mr Moses and Ms Thembani Mbokazi, in eMbalenhle while on maternity leave at the time. Her son, Ndalo, was then only three weeks old.

“We had visitors from KwaZulu-Natal and my mom wanted to prepare breakfast for them before they left, but the electricity was off. She placed a gas bottle grill on top of the electric stove plate, and prepared food for the guests. My parents were also in a hurry and left for Evander soon after the guests had departed.”

Seven people remained in the house that morning of 6 April 2017, Ms Sukazi, baby Ndalo and his 13-year-old sister Amanda, Ms Sukazi’s two nephews and her younger brother, as well as a neighbour. By that time the electricity was restored.

“My nephew asked me to make breakfast, and I told them to wait a while, not knowing that he had already turned on the wrong stove plate. I was absorbed in a television show and eventually laid Ndalo on the bed in our room before heading for the kitchen.

“That was when my neighbour and I notice the odd shape of the gas cylinder. She suggested I take a dry cloth and remove the bottle from the stove. I had scarcely picked up the cloth when there was an enormous blast.”

Ms Sukazi vividly remembers the details of that moment when time stood still. The fridge door flew off, bright light spilled through the open rooftop, half the stove was gone, everything was covered in white powdery dust, the curtains were flapping in the wind blowing through the glassless windows… and there was a lot of blood.

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“I looked at my leg and thought it must be broken, although I later realised the bottom part was attached by a mere piece of skin. I kept hearing the hissing sound of gas being released and I dragged myself out of the kitchen. I saw my dazed nephew crying outside, my father with tears running down his face.

“People came to stare and whistle and talk. I was so scared someone was going to take a photo of me and post it on Facebook. I saw pieces of flesh lying around and I thought it could not have been mine, the texture was all wrong!

“My mouth was dry, but no-one wanted to give me water. The ambulance came and I had to pull myself onto a stretcher. Then waves of pain came flooding in. I felt weak.

“I woke up in Evander Hospital. Ndalo had to be breastfed and checked out. He was unharmed.”

One Ms Sukazi’s nephews also nearly lost part of his foot and was taken to a hospital in Pretoria.

Ms Sukazi was flown to Witbank Hospital where her leg was amputated at the knee.

“This was a very dark time for me, but I thank God for faith and mercy.”

It is nearly impossible to believe this vibrant woman who inspires so many of her colleagues, was once a shy and timid person. “This journey has made me a stronger person and I am now able to stand up for myself.”

Ms Sukazi had to resign from her previous job at a wedding rental outlet in Pretoria and now lives with her two children in her parents’ house.

“Which was completely renovated when I returned home from hospital,” she said. She began working at the police station in February, but as an intern she is not a member of the medical aid.

Ms Sukazi has been waiting for months in the hope of getting a prosthetic leg, but the waiting list is still very long. In the meantime she is coping with crutches and tries to be as independent as possible.

Her colleagues are now asking for help or donations for a prosthetic leg.

What motivates this woman to be so positive every day?

“Attitude! I believe a disability is not always that which one can see. Some people are fully able-bodied, but their attitude is their disability.”

Anyone who is able to help Ms Sukazi, can contact her at 082 059 4321.

  AUTHOR
Arisja Misselhorn

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