It’s one of the biggest stories making global headlines, to ever come out of South Africa’s ongoing riots: Naledi Manyoni, the woman who was forced to throw her two-year-old daughter survived to safety as they escaped a burning building in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

Manyoni was on the sixteenth floor of the building when protestors raiding the ground floor set the complex on fire. She couldn’t make use of a lift because they weren’t functional, due to the ongoing blaze. Manyoni then frantically carried little Melokuhle down the steps, but could not reach the ground floor.

She says when they got to the third floor, there was a man who was helping residents evacuate the building (she was still holding her baby).

Naledi Manyoni told BBC News that she managed to squeeze through to a balcony area on the second floor where she appealed to passers-by for help with her baby.

At some point, she gave her baby to another woman, when she got to the second floor, who then also passed her back.

“The only thing I wanted was for my baby to be out of there. So I was asking people to help me… she threw the baby to me and I caught her. The people were screaming ‘throw her, throw her’. It was time for me to trust them, because I don’t even know these people,” she told eNCA.

The child was unharmed.

The unrest started out as demonstrations demanding former president Jacob Zuma’s release from prison in KZN,  but soon morphed into looting sprees, which then spread to parts of Gauteng. The unrest has sadly not been without bloodshed as 72 people have already been confirmed dead, while a total of 1 234 arrests have been made (as of Wednesday, 14 July)


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