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Namibian Police Honours Woman who Saved her Husband from Crocodile’s Jaws



Elizabeth Shintangu. Photo Credit: The Namibian

Namibian police has awarded a woman a trophy for bravery for saving her husband from the jaws of a crocodile in 2016.

Elizabeth Shintangu fought off a crocodile after it gripped her husband, Matheus Kativa while they were at Kavango River.

Narrating the events of that day, Elizabeth told The Namibian:

I still cannot believe that I was so brave as to fight a big crocodile to save my husband’s life.

I got up very early to work in our mahangu field. At around noon, I went back home, and my husband wanted to go and take a bath in the river.

For some reason, I discouraged him from going to the river, but he insisted since he wanted to take a bath. I guess this is what people call fate.

Since he was so adamant, I decided to accompany him. I took along our laundry so that I could do some washing while he was taking his bath.

Matheus Lativa. Photo Credit: The Namibian

She added that her husband, instead of taking his bath, decided to sleep by the river bank.

“When I was almost done, I woke him up because it was getting late. Strange enough, he refused, saying he did not want to bath anymore. Then, he suddenly changed his mind, and went into the river to bath. We chatted while he was bathing,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth said that as Matheus was bathing, the crocodile grabbed his hand and he let out a loud scream.

“It was like a car had fallen on top of me. It was confusing to realise that I was in the grip of a crocodile. I screamed for help, and the next thing I saw my wife on top of the reptile, fighting it. Then it let go of me, and by that time my lower arm had been severed,” Matheus said.

As they both tried to swim to the bank of the river, but the reptile came back and grabbed Matheus.

Matheus said: “This time I thought it was the end, and I waved my wife goodbye,” he related.

Recounting what happened after the crocodile grabbed her husband for the second time, Elizabeth said:

The water was all red with blood. I then saw his face as he waved goodbye. I swam fast after them, and held his left hand and started pulling him back. Part of his right hand was still in the reptile’s mouth.

When another piece of that arm tore off, the crocodile let go of him. But it came back again, and this time I decided I was not going to let go. I continued screaming as loud as I could, and decided that it was better for the crocodile to take his arm and not his or my life.

People nearby heard her screams and came to assist. They were then rescued.

Matheaus said he will be forever grateful to his wife for her bravery.

Samuel Mbambo, Kavango East governor applauded Elizabeth’s action.

“These are positive stories we want to hear, and men must see how prepared our women are to save us from danger,” he said.

Handing her the trophy for bravery, Kavango East Police Commissioner Johanna Ndahafa Ngondo said:

“This type of selflessness can make us a better society. By this trophy, we also want to boost the morale of our communities and the force.”

Photo Credit: The Namibian


  1. Papacy

    March 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Stuff of horror movies. Shout out to the brave lady. I will gladly listen to your speech on feminism any day.

    • john

      March 28, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      me too

    • Gia

      March 28, 2017 at 3:39 pm


  2. john

    March 28, 2017 at 1:38 pm that is a real strong woman right there….much respect madam

  3. Anne

    March 28, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Wow. Thank God you were brave. The sight of a crocodile can be daunting. God is a good . He is still in the business of saving lives. Another thing I learnt about this narrative is sensitivity to the Spirit. You felt your husband should not go to swim, but he was adamant. Some men don’t listen. Also he slept near the river at first, that was God doing everything to save him. As we go through the busy day. Let’s listen to our hearts for those checks . Eg do you have to say what you planned on saying right now, something not sitting well in my spirit about going into a relationship with this guy or girl, pay attention to details, start the business now, do it now or never etc. It can be anything. Congratulations to the couple. I can imagine the pain. If she had concentrated on the arm and blood, she may not have been focused, another lesson for me here. Focus on the outcome and keep moving towards it despite daunting challenges. She could just have been crying at the sight.

  4. tunmi

    March 28, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    ?????? I absolutely applaud her bravery.

    Now how about some signs warning about crocodiles in the water?

  5. Agege Bread

    March 28, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Some men don’t listen, stubbornness almost killed him.

    • tunmi

      March 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      lobatan! At least he allowed for her to help and gave her her dues

    • ranti

      March 28, 2017 at 6:48 pm


  6. Sally

    March 28, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    “These are positive stories we want to hear, and men must see how prepared our women are to save us from danger,” he said.

    You must marry a woman that can cook, that can clean, that can fast/pray and that can save from danger.

  7. Nnomsie

    March 29, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    And Men should also learn to listen or heed the advice of their wives…….Such a brave Woman

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