Feleng aged 13 was severely burnt at one month old when his squatter camp shack burnt down. In 2008 he underwent surgery in Switzerland where doctors removed two of his ribs, using them to rebuild his forehead which had only been covered in skin because of the ‘bone deficit’ caused by the fire. When I met Feleng in Pinner , in 2014 he greeted me at the door and was quickly designated as my helper/ assistant. He helped to carry equipment from the car and we worked together setting up the lights for a photo shoot. He thought it was a hoot that I’d forgotten one of my sticks for a softbox! He quickly set about finding some tape to construct a fully functioning light, scrabbled about with extension leads and, as the shot shows, was eager to show me his best pose. bit of a crush really…cant wait to see him again in Jo’burg and test out his cooking skills- he wants to be a chef.
Perlucia aged 7 is a survivor of a shack fire at the age of 6 months when she was left in the ‘care’ of a toddler. I met her some weeks ago in Pinner and she had me in awe with her energy and eagerness to show me different costumes she had for the photoshoot. She is the most huggable, happy and bouncy tigger of a child and showed huge resilience recently when I joined her at a fun day. She was a little confused at times because some of the children playing nearby openly questioned her about her scars- she came running back to our group laughing and giggling at their audacity..but she is still very young. Since then she has had tea at the Savoy, hugged doctors and firefighters and loves London. She would like to have green eyes and she thinks flowers are friendly.
Loide aged 18 was one of 17 children burned in an intentional fire at Vingerkraal, South Africa in 2010; ten of the children including her little sister, died. She hopes to study law.