Triplets die in tragic blaze

By Drum Digital
24 March 2010

HE ONCE said that if he were to die, he'd want his youngest daughter to die with him. Sindisiwe, the youngest of his sevenyear- old triplets, was disabled and he didn't want her to suffer through life without him so he asked that God take them together.

In the early hours on the morning of 15 March, Mandla Nkosi (38) got his wish. But in a cruel twist of fate he died with not one but all three of his girls. Mandla, Sindiswa, Sindi and Sindisiwe died from smoke inhalation when their home in Bertrams, Joburg – a converted garage they shared with another family – caught fire and they were trapped inside as their mother desperately tried to douse the flames.

It all began one ill-fated morning when the family was happily preparing for another day of work and school. Suddenly sparks flew from a faulty two-plate stove being used by one of the people renting the other half of the garage. And no sooner had the stove tripped than the sparks caused a fire which grew out of control as their roommate's gas canisters and paint thinners rapidly turned a small fire into a blazing inferno.

"We heard the screams of our neighbour from the next room," says Khonzekile Dumakude (32), the devastated mother of the triplets. "Mandla stayed with the girls in the bed while I tried to help put the fire out. But suddenly it became so big we couldn't do anything."

Read the article in the Drum of 31 March 2011 – and share your views below.

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