She may be a passionate ballerina, but eight-year-old Cwenga has her heart set on becoming a doctor or a nurse at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Daughter of devoted mom Thobeka, Cwenga was just three-years-old when she was shot in the eye in her home community in Gugulethu during a violent gun attack. She was rushed to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. For years after the tragic incident, Thobeka thought that her daughter was healing and felt safe. She had learnt to express herself through ballet, had undergone counselling and was surrounded by a supportive community of family and friends.
In 2016, Cwenga’s father was killed in a hijacking and the family struggled to cope with the trauma. Cwenga was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) A call to follow up on her progress from the Social Work department at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital – as part of its child protection case review – was the lifeline that they needed. They were assessed at the Hospital and then referred for counselling within their community, which allowed the mom and daughter to talk about their fears and heal from their wounds – both physically and emotionally.
Cwenga is now thriving at school and in dance classes.