Johannesburg - Nine-year-old Kgomotso Mashego is recovering in hospital after he was hit on the forehead by a firework outside his home in White City, Soweto, on New Year’s Eve.
According to the boy, the Roman candle firecracker, known as a 100 Shooter, was deliberately aimed at him. It left a burn wound on his head.
Kgomotso said he had been standing at the gate of his home when a group of youths aimed the firework at him.
His mother said Kgomotso had run inside, screaming, and was rushed to hospital.
Kgomotso kept his eyes closed as he spoke to The Star on Thursday because he said they were painful.
“I think the smoke from the firecracker got into my eyes,” the boy explained.
His distraught mother said they were still waiting for Kgomotso to see an eye specialist to find out if his eyes had been damaged.
She said a doctor had said the wound on Kgomotso’s forehead was not serious, but he wanted him to be examined by an eye specialist to determine whether he is okay.
Kgomotso said he had not been playing with any fireworks when he was injured, but had been waiting for his supper.
“I was just watching people as they were shooting the firecrackers, when someone aimed a firecracker at me,” the boy added.
His mother said parents should not let their children handle crackers. “We did not even buy crackers this year,” she said.
“We used the few that we had from last year. But we never give them to children because we know they are dangerous. What is hurting me is that the parents of the child who hurt my son are denying everything. They are saying they are not responsible for what is happening in the streets,” Mashego said.
Meanwhile, a concerned citizen, Jessica Baker, said she was disappointed that children were allowed to use crackers. She said that if a child is below the age of 18, they should not be allowed to handle them. “Firecrackers are dangerous. There are too many stories about people who were injured while setting off crackers.”
“I dread to think how dogs and cats may have suffered (on New Year’s Eve). The use of fireworks is out of control – it sounded like a war, such was the level of noise from midnight onwards,” Baker said.