Coast artist's family target of brutal attack

Artist Meloney Steyl has painted a number of pieces that depict the turmultous nature of life in many Africian states. FILE PHOTO
Artist Meloney Steyl has painted a number of pieces that depict the turmultous nature of life in many Africian states. FILE PHOTO Darryn Smith

A SUNSHINE Coast artist has detailed a brutal attack on her family back in South Africa as she prepares to mark the anniversary of her moving here.

Acclaimed Palmwoods painter Meloney Steyl says her aunty Dorothy, who is in her 70s, was hit over the head with a club while her cousin Mandy, in her 40s, was thrown down the stairs.

She was then thrown through a window, before the broken glass from the window was used to cut her legs.

Her husband Patrick was stabbed repeatedly, up to 10 times, before the attackers "broke almost every bone in his face".

All this happened while Mandy and Patrick's teenage daughter, Savannah had hidden herself in a cupboard and used her mobile phone to call the police.

Aunty Dorothy has since been released from hospital, while Patrick remains in the intensive care ward.

The attack happened in Eikenhof, a suburb near Johannesburg.

Meloney said Patrick was undergoing a second round of surgery to reconstruct his eye socket and eyelid and repair where his lip was ripped open to the chin. The family was hopeful he would not lose his eye.

Savannah, who is 18, is trying to complete her Year 12 Matric exams.

Meloney and Johan Steyl.
Meloney and Johan Steyl. Warren Lynam

News of the attack came as Mrs Steyl was preparing to exhibit her work at Flaxton Gardens in November.

She and her family are celebrating the 13th anniversary of their arrival in Australia later this month.

Her paintings of Palmwoods and beyond are in acrylic and 23ct gold leaf, and "sing her song of gratitude".

She says after the news from back home she is even more grateful for life on the Sunshine Coast.

"It is a daily gratitude,'' Meloney said.

 Meloney Steyl, with her portrait of Nelson Mandela.
Meloney Steyl, with her portrait of Nelson Mandela. Brett Wortman

She says Australians should never be complacent and needed to be on 'guard' to ensure the lawlessness seen overseas did not come here.

She said attacks were far too common, including carjackings and rapes.

Only recently, another family member was shot in the driveway of his home during a carjacking.

"It is just everywhere,'' Meloney said.

Artist Meloney Steyl's Cry, Africa.
Artist Meloney Steyl's Cry, Africa. Darryn Smith

"When you drive through Johannesburg there are signs saying carjacking hotspots.''

"Before we left there were a spate of rapes."

One young girl was sodomised as part of about nine rapes involving a gang.

Melony says her arts reflects her intense gratitude: "the blessing of living in the lush, peaceful hinterland, and being able to bring up their children in safe surroundings, surrounded by a community that welcomed them with open arms".

Her exhibition will be launched at Vineyard Restaurant in Flaxton Gardens at 6 - 7:30pm on Friday, November 18. Flaxton Gardens is located at 313 Flaxton Drive, Flaxton.

Artist  Meloney Steyl at Nambour Primary School's makeover.
Artist Meloney Steyl at Nambour Primary School's makeover. Cade Mooney/cm194388

Topics:  artist editors picks palmwoods south africa

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