‘I knew my baby was dying’

2013-10-11 00:00

VERNIE Pillay jolted awake around midnight on Tuesday with “a funny feeling that something was not right”.

On the other side of Pietermaritzburg, her son Dino Pillay and three others — Shikar Singh (26), Yesigan Govender (22) and Mikyle Robert (23) — were lying lifeless after a horrific high-speed crash on Alan Paton Avenue.

The Audi cabriolet they were travelling in was torn to pieces after it veered off the road onto a traffic island, crashing into a municipal dump truck.

Vernie woke her husband up and they tried calling their 22-year-old son. But his cellphone just rang.

In her heart, Vernie knew that a mother’s worst fears had come true.

“I just knew something had happened to Dino. I could feel it in my soul. I tried getting hold of him. Now I know my baby was dying when I was trying to phone him,” sobbed Pillay yesterday.

Unable to sleep, she heard people banging on the doors of neighbours and asked her husband to check what was happening. He refused, saying he didn’t want to know.

“Then they were knocking and banging on my doors and windows and I went to see as I just knew … a policeman was at the door. He had his cap in his hand …”

Pillay, an admissions clerk at the Midlands Medical Centre private hospital, said she had spent a few minutes with her son earlier that evening, when she had taken him his favourite meal.

Dino Pillay, who ran his own cellphone sales shop, shared a house with Mikyle Robert in Delhi Road.

“Dino and I shared a special bond. I feel as if I have lost my life. God has torn away a part of me that I’m never going to get back,” said Pillay, who has three other children.

Dino was due to begin a new job as the manager of CNA’s Liberty Midlands Mall branch cellphone section.

Single parent Nadira Singh is a broken woman after losing her only child Shikar.

A marketing graduate, Shikar was a contractor who worked at the Witness kiosk at the Liberty Midlands Mall.

“He was what I lived for and what my life revolved around. How do I move on?”asked Nadira, a manager at Miladys at Midlands Liberty Mall.

She said her son was supposed to have gone to Durban yesterday for a job interview. Nadira had no knowledge of his borrowing his girlfriend Shivania Naidoo’s car.

“At 11.55 pm when I called, his phone was off. I thought it strange and was quite restless. Then I got a call from Shivania that he was involved in the accident,” she said.

“I rushed to the scene and I will never be able to erase what I saw,” said a devastated Nadira.

Shivania was not available for comment.

Yesigan Govender (22) had asked his mom to cook a chicken curry for him, but he never returned to eat it.

“My baby was studying and wanted a nice curry. I cooked it for him and left for church, thinking I would come home to have supper with him. But he wasn’t there when I got home and now he will never come back to me.

“Why did my baby have to go, just why?” cried his mother, Sagree.

Yesigan, a Unisa Bachelor of Commerce student, was preparing for his final exams and had decided to spend the evening with his friends after studying the entire day.

His heartbroken girlfriend, Andrea Govender, also a Bachelor of Commerce student, said the void he has left would never be filled.

“He was the greatest and one in a million. To find someone like him is going to take a lifetime and then maybe that won’t be enough,” said a tearful Andrea.

Mikyle Robert’s mother Anushia, who lives and works in Dubai, received a telephone call informing her about her son’s death.

Thousands of kilometres away and hysterical, she telephoned her mother-in-law, Mano Robert, who was fast asleep and knew nothing of the accident.

“We just heard screaming on the phone and then realised what she was saying. This feels like a bad dream and I really want to wake up from it,” said Mano.

Mikyle’s parents Anushia and Renald have been living and working in Dubai for the past nine years. They arrived back in South Africa late yesterday.

Mikyle had remained in South Africa and was running an ice-making business.

The funerals of the four friends will take place separately today.

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