25th Jun 2017 9:05:32 AM

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Siyamthanda


Siyamthanda drinking Appeltiser next to Nsizwa at their January 2011 celebration of climbing Mt Cameroon.

Siya made it to the top of the mountain which was a personal triumph.

He, however, complained relentlessly about the different food in Cameroon and demonstrated no team spirit.

This tall teenager has a long way to go in personal development.



Siyamthanda Vinqi's story - interviewed by Bronwen















My name is Siyamthanda Vinqi. I was born on 27th January 1995 in Port Elizabeth at the Livingstone Hospital. I was my mother's only child.

Her name is Phumeza Vinqi. My dad is Xolisa Fundam.

My Mum works as a security guard at a book and paper store of a company.

My Dad buys me clothes, gives me money, a cell phone, lots of things. He's a supervisor at Snellec, where VW cars are made.

My Mother and I live in a five-room brick house with my grandmother and my three female cousins and a male cousin. The one who is 21 has his own Mum, so does the 6 years old girl; 13 and 20 are sisters - the Mum of these two lives a few streets away (she has her younger son with her).

I was burned on 16th August 2007. I was lying next to a paraffin heater on the floor.

My cousin and my gran were there; my mother was at church. We were watching TV.

The heater it blowed up, exploded. I caught on fire and I ran outside. My mother was there, she had a bucket of water and she put the fire out.

They called the ambulance.

They rushed me to Livingston.

There they rushed me to Dora Nginza hospital.

I ran outside because a few things in the house were on fire.

Only I got burned, no other people.

I remember the pain on my right arm; I tried to put it out with my left arm which also burned, but the bruises are gone now.

The clinic is not so far from the house; the ambulance came in a few minutes.

If it's worse, you get taken to Dora Nginza.

They admitted me quickly.

The first time they said I was too old and they put me in a ward with big people.

If someone is snoring or crying I cannot sleep.

I had a separate room.

I was in hospital for six months.

The nurses, doctors, treated me nicely.

My doctor was Dr Jones.

I use bio oil on my arm; my mother buys it for R48. Sometimes the hospital gives her some.

Sometimes my Mum cries when talking about my burns. I don't; I'm a big man.

I am in grade 8 of Verité High School.

Almost all the children at school are fine.

My principal said if kids are rude, I must just ignore them. He's a very nice guy, Mr Adams.

My class teacher is Mrs Ackers

When I leave school I want to design sports cars. Or maybe be a producer of songs and music. I love house music and R n B. My favourite star is an American who does rap, called Lil Wayne. He raps nice, about his own life. Sometimes he raps with his father. He's 28 now.

Lil Wayne sings: 'Like father like son'

I teach my Dad how to rap and how to dance sometimes. He's a very big guy.

My mother's a traditional healer. Proudly he takes out his phone and shows picture of his mother's friends in Xhosa clothes and his mother at work. He beams with face upturned 'Look how beautiful she is.'

Sometimes I am angry about being burned. I think people are going to tease me sometimes. If you keep playing with other kids, it's going to be fine.

I want to fix my ear and my hair. On Friday this week I'm not going to school; I'm going to the Provincial Hospital - it's a private hospital. Dr Linda Jones' friend Dr Groenewald organised operations for me. They already removed some rib cartilage out last month and put it in my damaged ear; now they will start to rebuild the ear.

I went to Cape Town in November last year. The first time, just to look. The second time the doctor said he didn't have the things to make the operation. We stayed for two days each time - we stayed at my mother's friend's place. It was a lot of travelling money to get nothing done.

I am glad I came to Children of Fire. To get to meet more people like me and even burned kids from other countries.

Max and Mlungisi became my friends in the Drakensberg. I told Max that it doesn't matter how you look, to get a girlfriend one day. Max is from Taiwan. He thinks he's not very pretty.

His English is good though; better than Hao Ting's. I hope to meet him next year for Mt Cameroon.

I know that I must get a passport and a Yellow Fever vaccination and to learn a little French to think about going to Cameroon.

Hao-Ting likes to play pool.

Mlungisi got upset when he kept losing at poker.

Greg, Danny, Abegail, Zamu and Lindi were nice.

The Drakensberg trip was cool. Children of Fire is a good idea, not just for surgery but to help us feel better about ourselves and to try things we wouldn't ever do at home.








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