A 29-year-old woman identified as Elizabeth Shintagu has won the hearts of many people after the news of her brave act got known by almost everyone. The Rundu woman fought a crocodile off her husband in the Kavango river in northern Namibia. Based on this note, she has been awarded a trophy for bravery.
Recalling the experience, Shintagu said she never knew a day would come when she would have to fight a crocodile off to save Matheus Kativa, her husband.
“I still cannot believe that I was so brave as to fight a big crocodile to save my husband's life,” Shintangu said, adding that it was a terrifying encounter.
“I got up very early to work in our mahangu field. At around noon, I went back home, and my husband wanted to go and take a bath in the river,” she explained.
The lady explained that they went to the river to wash clothes and take their bath when it happened. She could not say for how long they were in the river before the terrible incident occurred.
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“For some reason, I discouraged him from going to the river, but he insisted since he wanted to take a bath. I guess this is what people call fate.
“Since he was so adamant, I decided to accompany him. I took along our laundry so that I could do some washing while he was taking his bath,” Shintangu narrated.
Shintangu said Kativa decided to sleep on the banks of the river instead of taking his bath as he had said earlier. She washed the clothes clothes while he took a nap.
“When I was almost done, I woke him up because it was getting late. Strange enough, he refused, saying he did not want to bath anymore. Then, he suddenly changed his mind, and went into the river to bath. We chatted while he was bathing,” Shintangu said.
Then all of a sudden, she heard him scream loudly. Kativa had been grabbed in the hand by something in the water. At that point, he said he could not believe he was alive.
“It was like a car had fallen on top of me. It was confusing to realise that I was in the grip of a crocodile. I screamed for help, and the next thing I saw my wife on top of the reptile, fighting it. Then it let go of me, and by that time my lower arm had been severed,” Kativa said.
Kativa and his wife tried swimming to the river bank. When they thought the fight was over, the crocodile returned and grabbed him again.
“This time I thought it was the end, and I waved my wife goodbye,” he related.
The wife however, was not ready to let go and give up on him.
“The water was all red with blood. I then saw his face as he waved goodbye. I swam fast after them, and held his left hand and started pulling him back. Part of his right hand was still in the reptile's mouth.
“When another piece of that arm tore off, the crocodile let go of him. But it came back again, and this time I decided I was not going to let go. I continued screaming as loud as I could, and decided that it was better for the crocodile to take his arm and not his or my life,” Shintangu continued.
According to her, her screams alerted people from the nearby village who came to their rescue. They were safely pulled out of the water after that
Samuel Mbambo, Kavango east governor said Shintangu's bravery is astonishing since in most cases, people either run to call for help or stand rooted to a spot in shock.
“This woman proved to us that we can fight gender-based violence with love, protection and commitment. I am not saying jump in the river and fight a crocodile, but the fact is that she did it without thinking twice. These are positive stories we want to hear, and men must see how prepared our women are to save us from danger,” Mbambo said.
Commissioner Johanna Ndahafa Ngondo, the Kavango East regional police commander, commended Shintangu for her courageousness, saying the police give awards for best go-getters in the force as well as from the community.
He said the story of the woman made a big impression on them all and they have to reward her.
“This type of selflessness can make us a better society. By this trophy, we also want to boost the morale of our communities and the force,” Ngondo said.
The sweet couple is on a mission to stand up again. During the period Kativa was in the hospital, they could not work on their fields and look after their cattle.
Kativa is extremely grateful to his wife who saved his life. He said all women are brave, but they just wait for the right moment.
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