Elizabeth Shintangu, a Namibian woman who made headlines in February for fighting off a crocodile that attacked her husband, has been honored with a police prize for her “extraordinary bravery.”
Shintangu, 29, had gone with her husband, Matheus Kativa, to the Okavango river to bath and do some laundry chores, when a massive crocodile attacked Mr. Kativa as he bathed.
“The water was all red with blood. I then saw his face as he waved goodbye. I swam fast after them and held his left hand and started pulling him back,” Shintangu told the Namibian.
“I decided I was not going to let go. I continued screaming as loud as I could and decided that it was better for the crocodile to take his arm and not his or my life.”
According to Shintangu, she thought she had lost the fight with the beast and was going to watch her husband die in front of her when his right hand surfaced in the water.
But when the crocodile attempted to charge at her husband one more time, she managed to whisk him away to safety in the nick of time with the help of villagers who had responded to her screams.
A Woman of Courage
Speaking at the ceremony to hand over a trophy to Shintangu on Monday, Kavango East Governor Samuel Mbambo praised the young lady for her bravery and asked men to appreciate their wives’ bravery and sacrifice.
“I am not saying jump in the river and fight a crocodile, but the fact is that she did it without thinking twice,” Mr. Mbambo said.
Shintangu’s husband also praised his wife for her bravery and fortitude to rescue him from the beast, adding that all women are brave and just wait for the right moment to show it.
“I screamed for help and the next thing I saw was my wife on top of the reptile, fighting it. Then it let go of me, and by that time, my lower arm had been severed,” Kativa said.
In recent times, the Kavango river has become a common death trap for residents living along its shores, with fatal crocodile attacks being reported almost on a monthly basis.
Kativa’s February attack came a month after an 18-year-old girl was rescued by a group of villagers from the jaws of a crocodile in the same river.
Although the beast left serious injuries on her leg, the young girl was happy to walk away with her life.
In December last year, a severed body of a schoolgirl was found floating on the banks of Kavango river, following a crocodile attack, according to News24.
Shintangu says she had warned her husband against a bath in the crocodile-infested river on the day of the attack, but he insisted.
Many residents of Okavango rely on the river for water supply.