LOOK: Paralysed mom breaks silence a year after alleged attack by brother


Oct 25, 2018 12:49 PM
Mom of three Nadia van der Westhuizen was stabbed in the head, allegedly by her mentally ill brother. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – A mom of three was stabbed in the head, allegedly by her mentally ill brother, leaving her paralysed.It’s a year later and Nadia van der Westhuizen has finally decided to break her silence in the hopes of receiving the help she needs to improve her living conditions.

Nadia, 32, and her children, aged 13, 11 and eight, live in a three-bedroom home in Manenberg, along with her mother Shamielah Edwards, 60, and 13 other relatives.

Shamielah is a trader and a community worker who feeds the needy.

Abduraghiem van der Westhuizen, 34, appeared at the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on 19 October on a charge of attempted murder after he allegedly attacked Shamielah, Nadia and her fiancé at their home on 4 October 2017.

Abduraghiem is a diagnosed schizophrenic and is an outpatient of Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital.

According to his family, he is a drug addict, and is currently being held in the hospital section at Pollsmoor Prison.

He is expected back in court on 19 November.

Speaking from her bed on Wednesday, Nadia explains her brother had become angry that day because she had woken him up to sign a document.

Shamielah Edwards is taking care of her daughter Nadia van der Westhuizen. Video: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

“We needed witnesses to sign documents for a tender as we are in the trading industry and woke him up to sign it. He said he won’t sign his life away,” she says.

“I was warming food in the microwave when he walked into the kitchen and took out a long knife from the cutlery drawer and he placed it on the table.

“As he was about to take out another knife, I asked him, ‘Doerie, wat nou?’ (Doerie, now what?) I pushed the drawer back and he asked me, as he picked up the big knife, why am I panicking.

“Before I could answer, he stabbed me in the head and kicked me out of the back door.

“As I fell, my head hit the corner of the concrete step and that is when I felt completely paralysed.”

Abduraghiem van der Westhuizen, 34, has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly attacked his mom and his sister. Picture: Supplied

Shamielah says her daughter called for help, and her son also stabbed her in the head, and Nadia’s fiancé in the head and chest.

She says while her son received treatment at Valkenberg, the combination of his mental illness and drug abuse caused a “catastrophic psychotic episode”.

She says Nadia’s life has been ruined as she is unable to care for herself or her kids.

A picture of Nadia taken before the attack. Picture: Supplied

“I often call on neighbours to help. I would pay someone R20 to help bring her out of her room or even to help me wash her because I cannot do it alone,” says Shamiela.

“She has to be at hospital three times a week but there is no money for petrol, or you need to pay people R150 to take you.

“She also needs physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The wheelchair cannot fit in her room and it needs to be motorised, but she is on a waiting list for that.”

Sumaya Taliep, of the DA Women’s Network, has been assisting the family since last year. “This is a 24/7 job,” she says.

If you can help the family, contact Sumaya on 082 775 8888.

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