Anele (orange T-shirt) and her friend Sizwe, watch face painting at the Jo'burg School for the Blind, in September 2006.
Anele Nyongwana in February 2007 with Children of Fire Director Bronwen Jones and nurses in the Iris Ward of Netcare's Sunninghill Hospital.
Anele Nyongwana (6) came to
Children of Fire in February
2006 from Ackenhoff, where
she lives with her parents and
Anele had surgery with Martin Kelly at Sunninghill Hospital in March 2007, which made her face a lot more relaxed.
We hope that she will have more operations with this skilful surgeon.
She was referred to us by Dr. Bruno Pauly and volunteer Nolwandle Made.
She sustained burns on her face and hand at the age of three months, when a candle fell over and set the paper on the shack walls alight. The
burning material fell onto her
face and burned it badly, and
she injured her hand when she
tried to push it of.
She was admitted to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The nurses allegedly told her father that she would not make it and they suggested to give Anele an injection to let her “slip away”. Moses refused and requested to speak to the doctors. He stayed with his daughter the whole night, and in the end they told him she was going to be OK.
The skin of Anele’s face is contracted due to the scar tissue not growing; she cannot close her eyes and mouth in a relaxed situation, i.e. when sleeping.
We also noticed that her hair was tinged with
red, which is usually a sign of malnutrition. She had a few problems adjusting to the new environment at Children of Fire and the school, especially encountering other burned children.
She ran onto the street in terror when passing the school yard, where Sicelo, Sizwe and Feleng (all of whom are burned in the face) were playing. She displayed shock and fear at the sight of other burns survivors
until she was gradually acclimatized, thanks to the help
and kindness of the other children.
We have reasons to believe that Anele has more problems than
just her disfigurement to deal with.
She is unusually affectionate towards strangers, or people she just met; while her spoken English is very good for a six-year-old and she often gives the picture of a sensible and intelligent child, she does not know how to use a toilet and is severely incontinent at night – worst of all, she does not seem to see that this is a problem.
Also she ran onto the street when a car was coming, from fear of the other burned children at the very beginning. Anele went to Johannesburg General
Hospital for assessment several times.
In late April she returned for further assessment at Joburg Gen. She was booked
for a tissue expansion to restore her hairline and possibly
to build a nose-tip.
Her eyelids are not top-priority yet; her pupils are not directly exposed to the air as she turns her eyes up at night.
Anele is set to spend the first half of June back with her two sisters and parents in Ackenhoff, enjoying her new warm winter cloths from Children of Fire as well as a Dis-Chem toothbrush and a hot water bottle from the pharmacists at Garden City Clinic.
On 20 June 2006 she will have her tissue expander implanted at Johannesburg