Sonja van Buul, Beeld
Vereeniging – Charmaine Pienaar, 19, is walking again, just seven weeks after she was believed to have been paralysed when she and her mother, Heila, were viciously attacked by an axe-wielding robber.
Doctors had feared she would never walk again. She had a fractured skull, a splintered cheekbone and a broken jaw after the attack at the family’s scrapyard business in Waldrift.
Heila, 41, was hacked to death by the robber and Charmaine had been lying next to her mother’s body for hours before help arrived.
After an 11-hour-long operation, doctors would not give the family any guarantees about Charmaine’s condition.
“On my 19th birthday, on 26 October, I could stand on my own for the first time,” an excited Charmaine said on Thursday.
“During the day, while my father was away, I practised on the sly. With the physiotherapy my legs became stronger and stronger.”
She recently surprised him when she met him unassisted in the corridor, albeit with halting steps.
“I wanted to help and prevent her from falling, because she could only take one or two steps at a time before she would fall, but then I saw she was well on the way,” said her father, Danie Pienaar.
Charmaine said she wanted to donate the wheelchair which she received from kind-hearted donors, and the walking frame, which she only used for a day, to elderly people in need.
Pienaar said his daughter’s determination is giving him the courage to carry on after his wife’s cruel death.
On Sunday Charmaine visited her mother’s grave in Germiston for the first time, he said.
The man suspected of the attack has been refused bail. The suspect, an immigrant, will soon reappear in the Vereeniging Court.