‘I Felt Like My Son Was Going To Die’: Mom Recalls Trauma Of Darling Protest

FILE: A tear gas canister. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN – A Darling resident has described to Eyewitness News chaotic scenes which erupted outside her home during recent protests.

Celeste Dontley claims police unnecessarily used excessive force against demonstrators on Monday.

Some residents are protesting over a lack of housing and poor services. They also apparently want a school to be built in the area.

Dontley said she was standing on her yard in the early hours of Monday morning as residents burned tyres in the street.

She claimed police entered the area armed with rubber bullets and teargas without being provoked and, moments later, a teargas canister landed near her front door.

Dontley said the experience was horrific. She choked and struggled to breathe, as her eyes and face burned. Her two-year-old son who was asleep inside the house started vomiting.

“He was coughing and vomiting due to the teargas. We put him underwater in the bathroom. I felt helpless. I felt what it felt like with what the teargas was doing to me. I felt like my son was going to die and he was just two years old.”

Dontley said after managing to calm her child down, she called the Darling police station at least four times to lay a complaint but claims the person who answered the phone refused to help her with her request.


Thanks for reading and for your interest in South Africa. Content is produced in collaboration between iAfrica’s editorial team and partners — including nongovernmental organizations, private sector stakeholders, agencies and institutions. If you are interested in sharing stories to shine a spotlight on a particular issue, please email i-news@africa.com. We look forward to hearing from you.