Little gang shooting victim, 8, says she will one day catch gunman herself

2019-12-20 17:30
Ashline Telmarks, 8. (Supplied)

Ashline Telmarks, 8. (Supplied)

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Less than three years after doctors said it was unlikely Ashline Telmarks would ever walk on her own again after a gangster's bullet hit her in the back, the little girl's great-grandmother now has her hands full trying to stop her from running all the time.

"I have to tell her to slow down every time. She only recently started speeding off - it's all she wants to do," Rachel Telmarks said.

On her way to Grade 3 at the Astra School for children with special needs, Ashline has not given up on her dream of one day becoming a police officer.

"Now she says she is one day going to catch the jong who shot her."

Ashline was only five years old when she was shot in January 2017 while playing in a park mere metres from Rachel's council flat in Algoa Court, Hanover Park.

Ashline when she started walking assisted by a wal

Ashline when she started walking assisted by a walker. (Supplied)


The bullet exited through her abdomen causing damage to her spine, a kidney, and intestines.

She spent three weeks at Red Cross Children's Hospital before being transferred to the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre in Mitchells Plain. After receiving physical therapy, Ashline started attending Astra School, where she lives in the hostel.

Rachel and a taxi-full of her friends and neighbours would visit her when they could, or an Algoa Court resident would use a company vehicle to drive her there.

"She would tell me, 'Ma, I am going to walk again'. I thought she was just showing off in front of the other children, but then she did it, about a year ago."

Ashline makes use of a leg stabler. When she does not wear it, Rachel chases after her, worried she will hurt her limb.

But the now eight-year-old speeds off, playing in the park she once tearfully said she would never set foot in again.

"Her favourite thing to do is jump on my bed. She asks me if she can, and I always say no. But as soon as I turn my back, she does it."

Ashline Telmarks at Astra School, where she will n

Ashline will be in Grade 3 at Astra School next year. (Supplied)


Ashline still makes use of a catheter and walks with a limp, but she is no longer the withdrawn and emotional child she turned into after the shooting.

"Oh, she can talk! It's all she wants to do," Rachel laughed.

After initially refusing to return home after her hospitalisation, Ashline now spends school holidays with Rachel. Her mother, Merletha, also lives in the flat.

Hearing her great-granddaughter laugh made her happy, Rachel said.

"She is OK. That is all that matters."

Read more on:    cape town  |  gang violence  |  crime
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