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South African mother who threw baby to a crowd from burning building speaks

AFRICA
By Winfrey Owino | July 14th 2021

Naledi Manyoni and her daughter Melokuhle. [Courtesy]

A mother in Durban, eastern South Africa, who threw her baby to strangers from a building after it was allegedly torched by looters on Tuesday afternoon, has spoken for the first time since the incident happened.

The desperate mother threw her baby from the second floor of a building on fire to a crowd of passersby, as riots in South Africa intensify.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested in riots, following the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma last week.

Naledi Manyoni, 26, expressed her gratitude to those who saved her daughter, who turns two years next month.

“All I wanted was for my child to be safe. That is why I opted to trust complete strangers. We are now fine,” Naledi told BBC.

The 26-year-old mother threw her baby from the second floor of a building on fire to a crowd of passersby to ensure their safety. [File, Standard]

Naledi was filmed throwing her barely two-year-old daughter, Melokuhle, to passersby on a street in Durban’s city centre yesterday afternoon.

She said she was visiting her partner, on the 16th floor of the apartment building when the incident occurred.

“We were in the house when we noticed smoke coming from the floors below us,” she remarked.

BBC reports those raiding ground-floor shops had started a fire in the building. As a result of the fire, the lift stopped working giving the occupants of the building one option, using the staircase.

The mother of one said she managed to squeeze through a balcony on the second floor where she appealed to passers-by for help.

“All I could think was to make sure my baby lived,” she went on.

Firefighters arrived at the scene about 20 minutes after people in the crowd had started rescuing others residents with ladders - which is how Ms Manyoni was reunited with her daughter.

More than 70 people have been killed in days of violence after the jailing of the country's former President.

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