Avril Minnaar with Manenberg mom Janine Prins, 22, and her newborn Leah. Picture: Supplied
Avril Minnaar with Manenberg mom Janine Prins, 22, and her newborn Leah. Picture: Supplied

Born in a war zone: Frantic women help deliver baby amid gunfire

By Monique Duval Time of article published Jun 4, 2020

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Cape Town – A group of Manenberg moms rolled up their sleeves during the early hours on Monday and helped deliver a healthy baby girl amid gunfire and a bloody gang war.

As residents ran to help the parents of Toufiek Johnson, seven, who was shot while sleeping in his Red River home, loud screams were heard just doors away as mom Janine Prins, 22, went into early labour.

Janine, who was 37 weeks' pregnant, says she was woken by the sound of gunshots and felt the sudden contractions.

“I heard that a child was shot, but didn’t go look because I was in pain and I realised my water broke and the baby was coming early.”

Moms Avril Minnaar, Madeneya Mangaliso and Firdaus Benn say as the community recoiled from the gunshots, they heard Janine’s desperate screams.

“I had to wait for the shots to stop before I came out and then we realised Janine was in labour and the baby’s head was almost out,” says Firdaus, 31.

Manenberg mom Janine Prins, 22, with her newborn Leah. Picture: Supplied

The frantic moms called for an ambulance, but feared paramedics, who would have had to wait for a police escort, would not arrive in time.

“It was deurmekaar (confused) and the area was declared a red zone so I phoned my friend who is an EMS worker and he told us what to do,” says Avril, 52.

Avril, who had already delivered one baby, says little Leah was born without any hassles.

“She came very quickly and the paramedic just told us we must make sure to clear the slime from her mouth so she can breathe.

“We gave her a few smacks on the bum and she started crying and we knew she was okay.”

With no medical training or equipment, Madeneya, 31, says they got a frightk when they were told to use a clothing peg to clamp the umbilical cord.

“We had nothing here, but our hands, but he told us to use a pennetjie. We were so worried because of the Coronavirus, but we did what he said.”

Janine, who also has a three-year-old daughter, says she took a deep breath and pushed one final time to get rid of the placenta.

“The ambulance came and took me to Hanover Park Day Hospital where they told me Leah weighs 2.9kg and was healthy,” the mom says.

“We were discharged the next day and I am very grateful for the help.”

Daily Voice

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