No queues – UJ’s learned its lesson

2013-01-13 10:00

The university has put in place measures to prevent a repeat of last year’s tragedy

On Thursday, Gloria Sekwena’s family lit a candle in her honour.

That day marked a year since Sekwena was pushed to the ground and trampled to death during a stampede at the University of Johannesburg.

Her death still haunts her family.

Her husband, Joseph, said: “It still feels like it happened yesterday.”

“When I imagine what she went through seconds before she died, I just shatter. I am lost without her,” Sekwena said.

Gloria had gone with her son, Kgosie, to help him register at the institution.

Kgosie and 20 others were injured during the stampede that killed his mother.

After the tragedy, the university offered him the funds he needed to study towards a degree in biotechnology.

But the young man dropped out after the first semester because he was simply not coping with his mother’s death.

During an interview at his family’s home this week, Kgosie deferred all questions to his father and asked not to be photographed – but he did reveal that he is returning to university this year.

Joseph Sekwena said: “Kgosie is still traumatised by the whole incident and it is expected. Witnessing a loved one die during a stampede is not any easy thing to deal with. It is worse when you continue to blame yourself for it.”

The young man went for counselling after his mother’s death, but Sekwena feels more is needed.

“I think he still needs more therapy, especially now that he is returning to university to continue with his studies.

“Kgosie says he is ready to go back to class and we cannot stand in his way. We will support him in any way he needs,” added Sekwena.

The university will continue paying Kgosie’s tuition fees.

Sekwena talked about Thursday’s small, private candle-lighting ceremony which he and his two sons held.

“I thought lighting the candle and observing a moment of silence was enough to honour her because I did not want the boys to dwell on it.

“We all miss her dearly but we have to face the reality that she is never coming back,” he said.

“We try to take one day at a time but it is not easy. Her void is felt every day but mostly on special occasions like birthdays and our wedding anniversary.

“My wife was a planner and organiser. She would plan what we needed to do and ensured it happened without glitches. Now we have to do everything ourselves and it often doesn’t end in perfection.”

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