Gamalakhe mourns

2010-11-16 00:00

IT has been a nightmarish few days for Mthokozisi and Winnie Mbili, who lost three of their children when they drowned in the St Michael’s lagoon on Saturday after a pedal boat they were in capsized.

Dignitaries and concerned family members streamed in and out of the Mbili family home in Gamalakhe yesterday as they came to support to the grieving family.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize and Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe were among those who went to the house to join the singing and prayers.

The Witness spoke to Thuli Nxumalo, the sister of a shaken Winnie Mbili, who described the events of the last few days as tragic. “It has been very bad. She [Winnie] is still crying and she is terrified.”

Nxumalo added that having so many people visit the Gamalakhe home over the last two days has been very encouraging for the family.

“For us as a family we feel so much better when we have people around; the support of everyone means so much.”

The funeral of the girls— Sinqobile (3), Zamambili (7) and Snenhlanhla (17) — will be held at the FET College in Gamalakhe on Sunday.

The premier offered his condolences and said the government will facilitate any counselling that might be needed during this difficult time.

Radebe shared Mkhize’s sentiments and fought back tears as he expressed his sympathy with the family.

“This is a tragedy; this is a disaster. It is something so unusual,” he said. “We will do everything to make sure that this family is taken care of.”

The Mbilis are left with a 15-year-old son at home, Phakamani, who had not gone to the lagoon the day of the drowning because he had decided to stay home and study for an exam that he wrote yesterday.

“He has his ups and downs,” said Nxumalo. “Sometimes he says that he is worried that he will not have anyone to talk to at home now that his three sisters won’t be there.”

Nxumalo said the three girls had attended a fun walk at Zamambili’s school before enjoying a day on the beach and being treated to a boat ride by their uncle, his girlfriend and a cousin.

She was doing financial management and wanted to be a chartered accountant.”

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