Gabriella Engels, the woman assaulted with an extension cord by Zimbabwe’s then first lady, Grace Mugabe, has graduated with a qualification in makeup artistry, and is now setting her sights on the film industry, The Star has reported.
Engels received a bursary for R35 000 from the Face to Face Beauty and Make-up Design School in Parktown.
Shirley Wenman, the owner of Face to Face Beauty College, awarded her the bursary.
Wenman has said: “Gabriella was so good on her course and never gave a moment’s problems. Gabby now has no reason not to take up full-time employment.”
“Gabriella is such an inspiration to us all. sSe never gave up, and although it was tough to go through the process, the victory is hers.”
She said the assault case had overshadowed other aspects of her life, with people still questioning her about the incident wherever she went.
She said she had been trying her best to put the case behind her, saying: “I want to move forward with my artistry.
“I am focused on getting the court case over and done with so that I can do what I love,” she continued.
Of her studies, she said: “I have always been passionate about make-up, and I loved getting to learn the finer details.”
Lobby group AfriForum became a champion for Engels’ cause, accusing the South African government of “being complicit” and trying to cover up what happened to her last year.
At the time of the announcement that Engels had been offered the bursary, it was reported that the group welcomed the offer.
A spokesperson for them said yesterday: “Gabriella enjoyed each moment at the beauty school, and amazing people have made it possible for her.”
Mugabe was accused by Engels of assaulting her with an extension cord at a Sandton hotel last year.
She alleged the assault occurred at about 9pm on Sunday night when Grace paid a visit to the Zimbabwean president’s two sons, Robert Jnr, 25, and Chatunga, 21.
“We were chilling in a hotel room‚ and they were in the room next door. She came in and started hitting us. The front of my forehead is busted open,” Engels told the news website.
She said the Zimbabwean first lady beat her up along with two of her friends with the extension cord‚ while the two sons apparently ran away and her bodyguards looked on as they were assaulted.
Engels said she suffered gashes to her forehead and scalp.
According to an IOL report, Grace allegedly found Mugabe’s sons unsteady on their feet after a long party. They are supposed to be studying in Johannesburg, but regularly went to Taboo nightclub in Sandton, where sources said they spent a “great deal” of money on Champagne.
Prior to the incident, the sons were “evicted” from a luxury Sandton apartment at The Regent apartment hotel in Morningside after supposed unacceptable behaviour in a “dispute over women”.
It was reported this week that the High Court in Johannesburg set aside the decision by the department of international relations to grant former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe’s wife diplomatic immunity.
It was ruled that the granting of immunity was inconsistent with the Constitution.
This means Zimbabwe’s former first lady may have to stand trial for the incident at some point in South Africa.