Father cradles dying son next to his dead daughter after crash

2016-02-18 12:00
Thelile Shezi, 16 and her brother Phumelele, 15, were killed on Wednesday morning when a taxi crashed into them while standing on the side of the road. (Picture supplied)

Thelile Shezi, 16 and her brother Phumelele, 15, were killed on Wednesday morning when a taxi crashed into them while standing on the side of the road. (Picture supplied)

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Durban - Mthandi Shezi cradled his teenage son - bloodied from being crushed by an out-of-control minibus taxi - as he heaved his last breath.

And so close that he could touch her, lay the body of his teenage daughter. He was too late to say goodbye to her for the last time.

On Wednesday morning, Shezi's two youngest children, Thelile, 16, and her brother Phumelele, 15, were killed when a taxi mounted a curb and careened into them at the Isipingo Reunion Station.

- Read more: 'Absolute carnage' as taxi ploughs into pedestrians

The siblings were pupils at Umlazi Comtech High School. They had been waiting at the roadside for transport to a study session.

They were among four people killed in the incident.

As rain fell on the taxi rank, paramedics rushed from body to body.

In the midst of the chaos and debris, Shezi, a security guard and single father, sat quietly. He had run almost a kilometre to the scene after he heard the sound of the crash.

But he would have given anything to erase the moments when he got closer to the scene and recognised the school uniforms. It was in those moments he knew his life, and that of his three other children, would never be the same again.

Keeping a tight lid on his own grief, Shezi said he had to remain strong for his other children. He was, after all, the only person they could turn to after his wife died of breast cancer in 2011.

"If I break down, then they will break down. I have to be strong."

(Garrith Jamieson, Rescuecare)

'He took his last breath in my arms'

In the wake of their deaths, Shezi recounted the last time he had seen his children alive.

He said his five children - Skhumbuzo, 27, Thandokuhle, 25, Wendy, 22, Thelile, 16 and Phumelele, 15 – were usually fast asleep when he left for work around 04:00 every morning.

"I usually call the landline [from work] so that they can wake up, it is their alarm clock," he said.

On the fateful morning, he called the landline twice and knew that his children were getting ready for school.

"I was at Reunion Station at work and I was talking to someone and I heard a loud bang not too far from us."

Shezi said the noises came from less than a kilometre away from where he was stationed, so he ran as quickly as he could to investigate.

"As I got closer, I saw four school children in Comtech uniforms and my heart started racing because my children go to that school."

Shezi said when he got closer to the debris he noticed his daughter’s lifeless body.

"My son Phumelele was lying not too far from her. I rushed to him and held his hand and he took his last breath in my arms."


'I am heartbroken'

Shezi said he still couldn’t believe that his children were gone.

"I was shocked to see them in that state."

He said after his son had died, he called the police and tried to assist those who were still alive.

"They arrived and told me to step back and I watched as they took them away and cleared the scene, as if nothing had happened. I am heartbroken."

He said he would miss the jokes he shared with his youngest children.

"We used to spend time together, the children were very close. My children are my best friends. I am their pillar of strength and I have to keep it together," he said.

Phumelele and Thelile will be buried on Sunday.

Read more on:    durban  |  accidents

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