A baby is thrown from a burning building in Durban, amid spreading looting and violence in KZN and Gauteng. Picture: Reuters
A baby is thrown from a burning building in Durban, amid spreading looting and violence in KZN and Gauteng. Picture: Reuters

Good Samaritan who helped save toddler from burning Durban building says he ‘acted on instinct’

By Xolile Bhengu Time of article published Jul 21, 2021

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DURBAN – A Good Samaritan who rushed to help save a toddler from a burning building set alight by looters in Durban last week recalls having to convince the mother to throw her child down to the waiting crowd.

The story of 2-year-old Melokuhle, in a diaper, being thrown into a group of helping hands gripped the news recently.

The child and her mother, Naledi Manyoni, were stuck on the roof of a burning building with other people. Manyoni flung the toddler into the crowd to save her before managing to escape herself.

Mehluli Moyo, a chauffeur at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, South Africa, said he was at home in his flat opposite the burning building when the incident occurred.

Moyo said he heard screams outside and was at first reluctant to investigate because of the looting in the city centre.

“I live opposite the building that was set on fire by the looters. When I heard the desperate screams, out of curiosity I decided to go to my window and investigate.”

He said that after he realised what was happening, he quickly went to join the group who were trying to convince the mother and other people trapped in the building to “make a jump for it”.

Moyo says his first aid training came in handy when they gathered beside the building, with outstretched arms, to assist the toddler and others from the burning building.

“We were all screaming to the mother, you can throw your baby! The instinct was for us to convince her to throw her child to save her, and then show the mother the ladder available. It was very scary because there was only one way out of the building.

“I am grateful that I was able to help, I think everyone in the same situation would have done the same thing.”

He said one of the other people who was trapped was a pregnant woman.

“We helped quite a few people to escape that fire, unfortunately another lady fell from the ladder and broke her leg, but she was attended to by the Search and Rescue team.”

THE MERCURY

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