Location: Capetown, South Africa

Date Of Injury: 1995

I grew up in a township called Site C Khayelitsha, Capetown. My mother got me from a married man. My mother and another women were my father’s side chicks. My mother told me that they both got pregnant by this married man after a year. My father realized that the other child was not his. He took care of me and never supported the other child. When we were both 1 year 5 months, my mother left me and my elder brother who was 4 years-old, with this other woman and child in the shack we were living in, this women lived close by our shack. She went, with a 1 month old child, to fetch money at my father’s Super Market. She said that when she got to the shop, which was not far from our shack, an unknown man came to her before she reached the shop. He told her that her shack was on fire and full of fire outside and in. She didn’t know what to do; she went inside the shop to tell my father. My father took a car and they arrived at the scene. We were already out and I was burned on my face head and both hands. My elder brother was not affected by the fire. We were taken out by a neighbor.

The only thing that amazes my mother is that she had no stove to cook anything so there was nothing to create a fire. She was cooking at her sister’s place who was also staying in the same area. The man who took me and my brother out, took a blanket, made it wet, covered his body, kicked the door and saved us. He saved our lives. He was amazed that there was not much fire inside, I was the only one burning, and my brother had nothing but outside the shack there was a lot of fire. What a kind man, I wish I was old enough to thank him. We never knew who created the fire till today.

We were both taken to Red Cross children’s hospital for hospitalization. My brother had an infection in the chest because of the smoke and only stayed one month and went home. I stayed 2 and a half years because I was badly burned, worse on my head and face – even my fingers are not working properly. I started school in 2001 age 8. It was very difficult for me; others would make fun of me till I graduated in 2012 age 19. I was using a hat to cover my head from the sun; they would remove my hat and throw it far. I would cry and decide not to go to school the following day. Now at my age they still gossip and say different stories without asking what really happen. I didn’t get any counseling. I need advice that could help me go on with my life and things that I can use to make my face look better. I saw Miss Thembi and Kimberly Molala on Facebook and others on BurnSurvivors.com; I knew that I would get some advice at least that might make a difference in my life. I wish I could embrace myself publicly and be able to talk in front of others but I am a bit shy. I took this step to look for help because I really need HELP. I need groups that I can attend here in Capetown but there’s no such thing.