Young Rodwell Khomazana’s face was left badly disfigured after a hyena mauled him. And now, four months since his ordeal, he’s been discharged from Sandton Mediclinic in Johannesburg – for now.
“Look, I have two eyes!” were the first words out of 9-year-old Zimbabwean Rodwell Khomazana’s mouth when he first saw himself in the mirror late last month.
His face had been reconstructed in six operations, and he’d been fitted with a prosthetic left eye and nose.
Rodwell was mauled by a hyena in May this year and this was the first time since the traumatic incident that the little boy managed to smile at his appearance again, says Dr Kim Barnard, a paediatric surgeon who’s been closely involved in Rodwell’s recovery.
The mere fact that the boy survived the brutal attack is a miracle in itself. Rodwell had been sleeping next to his grandmother while attending an overnight prayer meeting when the beast attacked. The damage was so extensive that his left eye had to be removed. His nose had been ripped off and his upper lip was torn to shreds.
Since his arrival in South Africa, he’s had surgery to reconstruct his eye socket and cheek bones, as well as his upper lip.
He’s also been given a temporary prosthetic nose and a permanent prosthetic left eye. And now, four months since his ordeal, he’s been discharged from Sandton Mediclinic in Johannesburg – for now.
“Time and again the past few months I’ve been surprised by how strong and resilient Rodwell is,” Dr Barnard says.
“His determination and fighting spirit are remarkable – and he does it so gracefully.”