Tavonga Chikwenya is 7 years old and originally comes from Zimbabwe. Tavonga is a normal, inquisitive little boy who was severely burnt when he inadvertently knocked a pot of boiling rice over himself when he was 2 years old. Tavonga spent two months in ICU after undergoing many life-saving surgeries. In time, Tavonga’s wounds healed, but he was left disfigured with severely raised scars and keloids on his face and torso. These keloids were physically problematic as they restricted his movements and development, made him highly prone to infections and created great discomfort. Even worse, was the reaction from his peers which left this outgoing young child shy and self-conscious.
Four years later, in April 2009, Tavonga received a second chance at a more normal life with less pain when he was referred to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Tavonga needed extensive surgery in the Hospital’s new Operating Theatre Complex’s dedicated Burns Theatre.
He endured six months of intensive medical treatment including eight complex surgical procedures to remove his keloid scarring. His treatment also involved various modern medical approaches including essential psychological support, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and love from the dedicated staff at the Hospital. This, together with the unwavering support of his loving parents, has given Tavonga more confidence and the courage to talk about his burns and come to terms with his tragic accident. As part of the Hospital’s holistic care model giving each patient the very best medical care, Tavonga also underwent intricate eye surgery to correct a squint in his eyes which was unrelated to his burns.
After 6 months in Hospital, Tavonga was excited to go home to his loving family who were now living in Pretoria. Despite his pain and suffering, Tavonga epitomises the spirit of optimism and hope and, like any other 6 year old, loves playing with toy cars and dreams of owning his own sports car one day.