Josina Machel, the daughter Graça Machel and stepdaughter of Nelson Mandela, said that her boyfriend beat her in a brutal attack that left her blinded in one eye.
The Daily News reports, the boyfriend, who under South African law cannot be named, apparently became enraged when Machel wanted to sleep over at her mother’s house for her 70th birthday in October.
“I wanted to be with my mother,” she said. “We were going to celebrate her birthday the following day and so I just wanted to feel my mum around me. That is why I was so adamant about going home.”
But then, she said, her boyfriend began to verbally attack her.
“He expressed his unhappiness about me wanting to go home,” she said. “They are just not words that I expected to hear from anyone. They were demeaning of any woman and of me.”
Then, he began to hit her. She was so surprised that she turned to ask him, “What?”
“That is how I got the second jab that blinded me, which ruptured the eye almost immediately. I felt the third one coming and that’s when I ran out of the car, ran away from him,” she said.
As she ran, she screamed for help. At some point, she tripped and blacked out, and her next memory is of waking up in the hospital. There, at the hospital, doctors told her that the punch ruptured her retina and that her vision may never come back.
“I’m still going through myriad feelings. To be honest, I have not been able to grieve. I have not been able to cry. I have not been angry. I have not been able to feel all those emotions that happened because I’ve been concentrating on my eye,” she told South Africa’s City Press.
She went on to say that she went public with her story to honor her mother and her stepfather.
“Papa Madiba has always defended women’s rights, and my mum is the epitome of the significance of fights against injustice against women. So at this point, I have no right to be quiet and not to stand up.”