A couple are mourning the loss of their four-month-old daughter after a fire destroyed their shack in the Wingfield informal settlement, last week.
Just minutes after Antea Anthony left her home to buy a candle, on Wednesday May 25, at about 7pm, her daughter, Fazlin, burnt to death when a burning candle fell over in their shack.
The baby’s father, Faizel, is in hospital with burns to his face and hands which he sustained trying to save his child.
Ms Anthony said Faizel had put Fazlin to sleep on the bed and then went to a neighbour to fetch a battery for his cellphone. As he came out of the neighbour’s shack, he saw his home burning.
“All we heard is, ‘My child, my child’, and we knew the child was inside. We felt helpless,” said the baby’s aunt, Nicolette Abrahams. Ms Abrahams said she had visited Fazlin every night before the baby had went to sleep. When she came on that fateful night, however, Fazlin was already asleep.
“So I never got the chance to even hold her for the last time,” said Ms Abrahams. She said she had felt a special connection to her tiny niece, because she was the same age as her son.
Ms Anthony said that when she had returned from the shop about 15 minutes later, the shack had been on fire. The last thing she expected was Fazlin’s death. She still can’t believe her daughter is gone.
During the ordeal, Faizel had been lying on the side of the shack with burn injuries.
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“It is very heartsore, and I don’t think it has hit me yet,” said Ms Anthony.
She said she could not afford to bury her daughter the day after she died, according to Muslim rites. She appealed to the public to help her bury Fazlin, whose death had left a gaping hole in both her and Faizel’s lives.
When Northern News called Ms Anthony on Monday, she said her daughter had still not been buried because Fazlin’s body had been so severely burned that it could not be identified and a DNA test needed to be carried out.
She added that if the state did the DNA test it would take up three months, but if she had it done privately, the process would be quicker.
However, Ms Anthony is not able to pay for the test.
The family and friends who all live in the Wingfield informal settlement are shattered by this tragedy, and said all they could do now was pray for little Fazlin.
Goodwood police spokesman Lieutenant Waynne Theunis said police were investigating the circumstances leading to Fazlin’s death.
“The father of the child sustained burn wounds to his hands and face when he tried to save his child. He is currently in Tygerberg Hospital,” said Lieutenant Theunis.
* If anyone would like to assist the family, call Antea Anthony at 082 639 5861 or Lieutenant Waynne Theunis from Goodwood police station at 082 499 3944.