Every year thousands of South
Africans sustain burn injuries from fire, steam, boiling water and chemicals. Many
victims are left dejected and feel they have no hope of living a normal life.
32-year-old Nombulelo Maqutywa of Qoboqobo close to King William’s Town, says
there is life beyond the scars. She was only 18 when she suffered burns in a
Rejected by some people
“I was in a taxi which broke
down. The driver asked the men in the taxi to help push but it burst into
flames. We managed to get out through the emergency exit and I was rushed to
the hospital. I suffered burns in my
face, hands and feet. I dropped out of school and lost my friends and
Maqutywa visited Johannesburg and
joined a support group for people who had sustained burns. “That helped me regain
my confidence. I have never heard of
such support groups in the Eastern Cape. I wish I could counsel other people, especially
young people, who have sustained burn injuries and make them realise that it is
not the end of their life, that they can live a normal life,” she said.
Maqutywa said life was difficult
after the incident because she was rejected by some people she considered close
friends, but she also found comfort in the love and support she received from
Support to burn victims
Jason Subramoney of the
Department of Public Safety in the O.R Tambo District Municipality urged people
to be extra vigilant during winter.
“People should be extra vigilant
when using paraffin stoves. Children
should not be allowed to operate paraffin stoves and shouldn’t be left
unattended near fires,” he said.
The National Burns Association of
South Africa offers support to burn victims.
“We support burns survivors
through a WhatsApp group and if anyone has special needs we communicate
privately and offer assistance,” said the organisation’s Colin Lee.
For more information visit their website
Image credit: iStock