Photos of 23-year-old South African woman left paralysed and brain damaged after brutal attack by her boyfriend’s rival

A family from Lawaaikamp, in South Africa, is seeking justice after their 23-year-old daughter, Sivenathi Toto, was left paralysed and brain damaged following a brutal attack by her boyfriend’s rival. 


According to a post shared by Women for Change on Thursday, June 1, 2023, Toto was brutally attacked and left for dead by the suspect identified as Shaun Madonono, also 23, on August 26, 2022. 


According to Toto’s cousin Nosikhumbuzo Mhlaba, the attack was driven by revenge.


“Her boyfriend went out and apparently had a fight with the suspect. After the fight, the suspect allegedly returned to the boyfriend’s house to take revenge,” said Mhlaba.


According to Mhlaba, Toto’s boyfriend was not home when Madonono arrived and Toto was sleeping in her boyfriend’s outside room. 


Madonono allegedly broke down the door and forced her to go to his house where he severely assaulted her. 


“He grabbed her and dragged her to his house two streets away, where he allegedly beat her until she was unconscious,” Mhlaba said.


Once Toto was unconscious, Madonono put her in his bakkie and left her behind the Total garage in Nelson Mandela Boulevard. 


Mhlaba told journalists that Toto was discovered by a petrol attendant sometime during the night.


She was taken home by a neighbour and opened a case at the police station the following day, after which she was taken to hospital for a medical examination.


Madonono was arrested on the same day. He has since been released on bail and is facing charges of assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and housebreaking.


He appeared in the Thembalethu Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday 10 May, 2023. The case was postponed to 30 May.


Madonono was given until 12 June to find alternative accommodation outside Lawaaikamp. He currently lives one street from the victim.


In December 2022, Toto apparently suffered a stroke. Her family believes it is due to the trauma and injuries caused by the incident. In April she was again admitted to the hospital where, according to the family, blood clots were found on her brain.


Since the incident, Toto has lost some of her cognitive abilities, she can’t walk unaided, she lost control over her urinary tract movements, saliva drips from her mouth and she has to be fed. 


“She can’t talk and she has night terrors,” said her father, Simo Toto. “She only wants to sleep next to me. That is where she feels safe.


The district spokesperson for the Western Cape Health Department, Nadia Ferreira, confirmed that Toto was admitted to George Hospital in August 2022, twice in February this year and once in April.


“Following assessment protocol, the patient was referred for a brain CT scan in March. When the patient’s condition deteriorated, she was admitted to George Hospital on 26 April for care. She was discharged on 3 May on chronic medication and with a rehabilitation support plan in place to ensure continued care,” said Ferreira.


Toto’s mother, Natasha, had to leave her job to look after her daughter who used to be employed by her father as a supervisor for his business, Ceduma Maintenance.

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