The story of Rodwell Khomazana

On 2 May 9-year-old Rodwell Khomazana was attacked by a hyena and suffered life-changing injuries. The attack took place when Rodwell was with his family at a night religious service at Zviratidzo Zvevapostori Apostolic Church in Zimbabwe and was sleeping. In the attack Rodwell suffered terrible injuries losing his nose, left eye, most of his upper lip and parts of his forehead and face. He was rushed to Harare’s Parirenyatwa Hospital, the largest hospital in Zimbabwe, where surgeons stabilised his wounds but didn’t have the resources to repair the terrible wounds to his face. A senior nursing sister Chaku Nyamupaguma volunteered to care for Rodwell. The excellent medical care Rodwell received in Zimbabwe saved his life.

Rodwell’s mother couldn’t afford the specialised surgery he needed, which is only available outside Zimbabwe, but contacted doctors in South Africa who agreed to operate on him free of charge in a private Johannesburg clinic. The news was shared, many people prayed, and donations came in to cover the full cost of getting Rodwell to South Africa. One of the team managing Rodwell’s medical evacuation said, “It’s just very overwhelming to see the amount of love that people have shown so readily, without even knowing him.”

Dr Ridwan Mia, a renowned plastic surgeon who is leading the team operating on Rodwell, said, “If he wasn’t to have this reconstructive surgery, I think we would be hearing a terrible story of a child who probably will not face society again. And that was the big key, that we can get him a face that he can walk around in public with and still feel and be as normal a child as possible.” As well as the reconstructive procedures, Rodwell will need months of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and psychotherapy to help him speak properly again, eat by himself again, be able to play football with his friends once more and gain the independence any young boy deserves to have.

The responses of the medical teams in Zimbabwe and South Africa and the generosity of people are a great example to us all. One of the greatest commandments is, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Jesus said, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Jesus came into this world to reveal God to us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made his light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”


Love your neighbour as you love yourself

The results of the 2011 Census for England and Wales reported a decline in the number of people identifying themselves as Christians and an increase in the number of those saying they had no religion. How significant are these figures for our nation? What influence will this change have on our society? Does it matter that fewer people believe in God? Does this affect the way they live?

A legal expert once asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus clearly linked a wholehearted love for God with a true love for our neighbours. When we do not recognise God’s right to be first in our lives, this has inevitable consequences for those around us. When self is king, when what I want reigns supreme, then the rights and needs of those around me count for nothing.

There are signs that this is what is happening in our society. We affirm a mother’s right to choose whether or not to have a termination of her pregnancy. But does not the unborn baby also have rights? If we were that unborn baby what choice would we want our mother to make? Sexual predators who abuse children and vulnerable adults feel they have the right to fulfil their perverted desires without any thought for the devastating consequences for those they abuse. How would they feel if someone did the same thing to them? The growing population of elderly people is becoming a burden to the rest of our society. Some say it is not fair that younger people should have to pay the cost of caring for the elderly. But when we are old, how will we want people to care for us?

The commandment to love our neighbour as ourselves is a sure guide when we have to make moral choices. We owe a moral duty to God and to each other to seek to obey this commandment. Jesus said, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Future happiness for us and for our children depends on us rediscovering a real love for one another through a living relationship with God.