How Zimbabwean beauty queen Tambu Makinzi lost her face

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Tambu Makinzi was a beauty queen, who was crowned in 2010. This gorgeous lady was happily living her best life as a wife and mother, until her life came crashing like a pack of cards when a rare aggressive tumor crumbled her face.

Doctors advised her family that she could die in 3 months, as at 2015.

Tambu Makinzi was a Zimbabwean, born into a family of six but all her family currently live in the United Kingdom.

During her prime, she met someone who was going to be the love of her life, after they had met in 2009.

They married a year after and they had their first child the same year. All things were seemingly rosy until later in that year, when she started having severe headaches. On visiting a pharmacy, mere painkillers were prescribed because no one could have imagined it being a cancerous disease. Afterall, she appears healthy. In a quick turn of events, the tumor started to grow in molds, sending her family’s heart racing when it all appeared serious suddenly.

Tambu had multiple operations in South Africa; following different series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the tumor grew stronger, bigger and aggressively. She now had two large tumors growing on her face, destroying her facial structure and her sight.

Tambu Makinzi was eventually diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called ‘chondrosarcoma’
Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer that is rare, it usually begins in the bones, this cancer can sometimes occur in soft tissues just close to the bones. Most common locations these tumors are usually in/on the hip, pelvis and also the shoulder. In most rare cases, the base of the victim’s skull is also affected.

Makinzi had to travel over 5000 miles to the United Kingdom after four arduous years in South Africa in search of a cure.

When she arrived in London, the tumours had already festered and destroyed most part of her face, bones, tissues and to make matters worse, it also destroyed all her sensory organs killing her sense of smell.

When the doctors eventually operated on her in London, parts of her rib were taken out to restructure the face. Blood supply was taken from her neck muscle, 15 hours into the operation, they noticed that the new flesh and tissues were not getting supplies and this could also kill her as this really affected the brain. 25 hours into surgery and there was finally an air of success after two attempts.

To date, many medical experts believed it was a miracle she survived after many failed attempts and a film documenting her journey from Cape Town, South Africa to the United Kingdom was made available on Netflix in September 2015.

Unfortunately, Tambu sadly passed away a year after the completion of the film in June 2016. She was 28.