Eleven-year-old child saves baby sister

2008-12-02 00:00

WHEN 11-year-old Nobuhle Sithole of Smero in Pietermaritzburg saw that the roof of her family house was about to be blown away in yesterday’s storm, she grabbed her 11-month-old sister and ran as fast as she could.

A few seconds later the roofing sheets were blown away, nearly injuring her mother. By that time Nobuhle and her sister Ziyanda were watching the drama from a neighbour’s house.

Her family are among several in the greater Edendale area who were left devastated after their houses and belongings were damaged by the heavy storm that started at about 2 pm.

The girls’ mother, Hlengiwe Sithole, had just lifted up a cupboard that had fallen on top of Nobuhle. As she was lifting the cupboard she failed to notice that the roof was about to be blown away.

“I saw her [Nobuhle] running out with the baby and I shouted at her to come back, but she continued. I was concerned because there was already heavy wind and rain. But I realised that she intended to save her sister after the roof was blown off,” said Sithole.

Sithole (26), a housewife, and the children had just sat down for their lunch when the drama unfolded. The heavy rain spoiled their meal and the groceries. Their clothes, blankets and furniture were also not spared.

On getting an emergency call from Sithole, her common law husband, Lucky Ngcobo, left work early and rushed home to help. The couple immediately started to repair the house so they could spend the night in it.

“Even though our blankets and bed are wet, there is nothing we can do, because if we got to my parent’s house, criminals will steal our belongings. We are only going to send the children away,” said Ngcobo.

Ward 20 councillor Bonginkosi Mazibuko and municipal officials visited the area to establish the extent of damage.

Xolani Mngwaba said he was in his house watching the heavy rain approaching when he heard his mother Elizabeth (60) and his son Andile (8) screaming for help. He suddenly saw the roof of the main house, where the two were, “flying off”.

“Luckily they were not injured, although my son was hit by a piece of wood,” said Mngwaba.

The Msunduzi River swelled, leaving people stranded as they were unable to cross.

Ward Two councillor Sibusiso Ntuli reported damage in the Sweetwaters area. He could not be reached to provide details.

This is the third heavy storm to hit KwaZulu-Natal in less than a month.

In the Durban area, nine people were killed in a killer storm in Molweni on November 14 while seven were killed in kwaMakutha on Saturday.

bhans@witness.co.za

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