IT’S been 10 years since that fateful day when she lost her beloved daughter and she herself stood at death’s door after a fire started by her then-boyfriend.
Today, Thembi Maphanga is vibrant, happy and living her life to the fullest – something she says she owes her little girl, Kamo, who died at the age of two. She laughs and jokes when we catch up with her on this momentous anniversary of the day that changed her life.
“I’ve been great, and I’ve grown,” the 43-year-old from Middelburg in Mpumalanga tells DRUM.
“I understand life so much better now. Things are clearer and make sense.”
Thembi’s story is nothing short of inspirational and she’s helped other burn survivors come to terms with what happened to them.
She had to work through the trauma of what happened to her and Kamo.
She’ll never forget the day. She and her ex had a fight and he returned to Thembi’s home to collect his belongings.
He walked in and locked the door behind him. In his hand was a five-litre container filled with petrol.
“He started throwing petrol all over me. I screamed and fought to keep him away from me,” she recalls.
He then lit a match, setting the room alight, before jumping out the window to escape the blaze.
Thembi frantically searched the room for Kamo, but eventually had no choice but to leap out the window too.
SHE sometimes still can’t believe she survived the horrific attack that left her with 80% burns across her body.
“I was burnt to the bone,” Thembi tells us. “I was so sure I wouldn’t make it. It is just a miracle that I am still here.”
Kamo wasn’t as fortunate. She died three days later.
Thembi was in a coma at the time and couldn’t be there when her child was laid to rest.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
I AM ENOUGH
Ten years after being set alight, Thembi Maphanga is living life to the fullest
Stranger Than Fiction
For actor Mangaliso Ngema and his daughter Khosi Ngema, her role in Blood & Water was like watching their family’s real-life story unfold
The Big Clean Up
Whenever a Covid-19 case is confirmed at a shop, they call in the deep-cleaners. We find out exactly how they disinfect stores and supermarkets
‘They Lived For Each Other'
This Cape Town teen’s parents died from Covid-19 on the same day. Now she’s alone and battling the virus too
Drum speaks to two volunteers in the Covid-19 vaccine trial and the professor heading the team in Africa
I'm Back & Better!
Babes Wodumo shares what she’s been up to in lockdown – and there’s some new music on the horizon
More Than Just Baby Blues
Here’s everything you need to know about postpartum depression
I Was Raped By A Pastor
His accusations against a well-known man of the cloth turned an Eastern Cape man’s life into turmoil but now more victims have spoken out
My Fight With Life And Death
More Covid-19 patients, too few beds and staff, constant sanitising and personal fears – a Western Cape doctor shares her experience
Not An Easy Ride
Taxi commuters and industry players tell DRUM what’s driving them to defy lockdown rules
Bringing the Beauty Out
For the photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop, the moment was always now.
24 Hours In Port Blair
The lively capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands boasts a long, beautiful coastline looking out to the surreal shades of the Andaman Sea. Surrounded by forests and teeming with luxury resorts, bazaars, and historical sites, Port Blair offers a huge range of activities for the discerning traveller. Here’s how you can make the most of a day-long stopover.
THE FUTURE IS GOOD!
With a comprehensive portfolio catering to some of the mega programs, Bharat Forge’s Defence & Aerospace division is ready to further enhance the scope of its work and contribute towards a self-reliant India, says its President and CEO, Rajinder Bhatia.
Crossing The Line
Zinhle spirals out of control after her BFF Keabetswe puts her in the friend zone following their passionate time together.
Let's talk about sex
Teenager Cebile isn’t getting the help she needs from her mom Patricia when it comes to “adult stuff”.
The Leading Ladies Of TV
Fundiswa Nkwanyana sat down with some of the most talented actresses in SA right now and had an honest conversation about their love for acting, memorable encounters with fans and the importance of the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill.
Death Benefit Claim
If you are married, it is important to understand what will happen to your marital property when you die. Samke Mhlongo also explains how you can claim from your spouse’s estate after their death.
Kamothe Man Arrested For Killing Brother's Wife, 2-Year-Old Nephew
Family feud suspected; her parents allege dowry harassment