“I HATED MEN WITH ALL MY HEART”

True Love|April 2020

“I HATED MEN WITH ALL MY HEART”
Vuyelwa Sithole, 35, shares how her childhood scars opened up again after 21 years of healing
LINEO LETEBA

I was two years old when I got badly burnt by hot water. Because I was a baby, this was terrible for both my parents. I didn’t realise the extent of my burns or damage until I was at least 10 years old. My schoolmates would tease and bully me because of my facial scars — something that was very painful for my young mind to fathom. They gave me labels, and tormented me. The children in my neighbourhood were also mean because I looked different; they made me feel like a curse. When I visited some of my friends, their parents would stare at me and make comments like: “hakere ngoana enoa o chele” (this child is burnt), and that made me feel very bad.

A year before he died, my father asked the doctors to remove some skin from his leg, and replace the burnt one on my face. I was 12 years old at the time, and I healed well. You can barely see the marks. I didn’t know that it would turn out to be his final gift to me.

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April 2020