Durban - Precious Manda’s Christmas wish is to meet the man who found her son and took him to a nearby police station, almost 15 hours after he had been taken by hijackers.
Two-year-old Emmanuel Khoza was seated with his mother and 6-week-old baby sister in a bakkie when they were hijacked in Cato Manor, on Thursday night.
His father, Elias Khoza, was standing a short distance away talking to a friend. Emmanuel was found almost 15 hours later by an unknown man outside the KwaMashu Men’s hostel.
He was reunited with his parents at the KwaMashu police station
On Sunday, Manda, 23, of Chesterville, described the past four days as the most stressful ever. “It was like something out of a movie,” she said.
“My Christmas wish is to meet the man who saved my baby. He is a hero. Anything could have happened to Emmanuel.”
Manda said the drama unfolded a short while after she had left her parents’ home in Lamontville. She said her husband had stopped at a tavern in Cato Manor to speak to a friend.
“I was breast-feeding Lucia when I noticed three men coming towards us.
“At first I did not think anything but then I saw one of them with a gun.”
She said she jumped out of the vehicle with Lucia before the hijackers sped off with Emmanuel. She said they borrowed a friend’s car and went on a frantic search around Durban.
“We went to Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, uMlazi and even Newlands. For 10 hours we looked everywhere.”
Manda said all she did was cry when she heard Emmanuel had been found.
“It was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for. I prayed so hard that we would find him alive.”
On Sunday, Emmanuel ran around the house, playing with a vuvuzela twice his size and laughing.
“Emma”, as he is affectionately known, was given a clean bill of health after a medical check-up on Friday.
Manda said they believed Emmanuel could have slept outside on grass near the hostel where he was found.
The money they were going to use for Christmas shopping was taken in the hijacking. She said they were grateful to be alive.
The bakkie has not been found.
Elias also used the bakkie for his construction business.
Manda said: “Christmas is going to be very different this year. I will spend it with my parents while Elias goes out and tries to find a job.”