Boy Mauled by Hyena to Have Facial Reconstruction Surgery

A 9 year-old boy who suffered facial injuries in a hyena attack last month has arrived at hospital for facial reconstruction surgery.

A hyena attacked Rodwell Khomazana on May 2 during a night-time church service outside Harare, Zimbabwe.

The boy lost his nose and left eye as well as parts of his forehead and upper lip during the attack.

He received care in a Harare hospital where doctors worked to stabilize his condition. However, they did not have the resources required to fully repair the damage, according to the AFP news agency.

After the boy's mother reached out to doctors in neighboring South Africa, Khomazana will have surgery to reconstruct parts of his face.

Doctors agreed to perform the young boy's surgery for free, while donations will cover the costs of Khomazana's hospitalization which is expected to last at least a month, AFP reported.

Khomazana traveled from Harare to Johannesburg by plane over the weekend. He was taken to the Mediclinic Sandton private hospital in Bryanston.

Staff at the hospital in Johannesburg had prepared for the young boy's arrival and gathered as he was taken inside. Some wore t-shirts with "Team Rodwell" printed on them.

Ridwan Mia, a plastic surgeon at a private clinic in Johannesburg who will operate on Khomazana, told AFP: "When she [Khomazana's mother] mentioned the story of this poor child mauled by a hyena I couldn't say no."

Nursing sister Maqshuda Kajee and other health care workers raised funds for Khomazana's transport costs, according to South Africa's Times Live news outlet.

Doctors will perform an exploratory operation on Monday. Afterwards, a further surgery will be scheduled which could last around 20 hours, AFP reported.

Khomazana's face will be reconstructed using tissue from other parts of his body. He will also receive a prosthetic eye.

Mia told AFP that "unfortunately he will have multiple scars on his face" but that doctors will work to minimize this.

He said doctors hope the surgery "will at least allow him to be functional and enjoy the things that other kids do."

Khomazana is also due to receive psychological support.

hyena, attack, getty
A stock image shows a hyena. Meet Poddar/Getty Images