Ndwedwe: Siblings die, two escape after lightning strikes

2012-10-31 00:00

AN Ndwedwe family was left devastated after two of their children died and two others escaped injury when they were struck by a bolt of lightning at Maqokomela village, Durban, on Monday evening.

Grade 12 pupil Thandeka Dube (20) and her younger sister Fikisiwe (9) were on their way to a shop with Thandeka’s one-year-old baby and neighbour Sandile Dube (19) when the incident happened at about 7 pm.

Thandeka, who was carrying her baby on her back, died instantly and Fikisiwe, who was a Grade 4 pupil, died later while waiting for an ambulance at a nearby house.

The two deaths have brought to eight the number of people killed due to bad weather since the start of the summer season in KZN.

Lungisani Dube, uncle of the deceased, said yesterday the children had gone to a shop to buy some snacks when the incident happened.

“It was raining with thunderstorm and a bolt of lightning struck them,” Dube said.

Neighbour Faith Khuzwayo Dlamini said when she heard about the incident she and other neighbours rushed to the scene.

“We found Thandeka lying face down. The younger one still had a pulse and she was taken to a house nearby to wait for an ambulance, but she later died,” Dlamini said.

She said after Sandile was struck by lightning, he fell and woke up a bit unconscious and ran home.

Another neighbour Lungile Ngcobo said they found some of the clothing worn by the children such as the baby’s blanket and Thandeka’s clothes burnt.

“It was sheer luck that the baby did not die as her hood was burnt,” Ngcobo said.

During a visit to the Dube homestead a sombre mood prevailed as members from the extended family gathered in one of the rondavels.

The children’s mother, Baguqile Victoria Zondo, was too distraught to speak to The Witness while the head of the household, Joseph Dube, was away. Sandile and the one-year-old baby had been taken to a clinic for observation.

Their aunt, Norah Luthuli, said she was equally devastated by the deaths, especially that of Thandeka, whom she described as a disciplined child.

“It is very painful because we have lost a child who was very helpful,” she said.

Dube also said the family’s hope for a better future were shattered by Thandeka’s death. She had wanted to be a soldier.

“We had great hopes in her and looked forward to her finishing her studies. I’m still shocked and I can’t even eat since the incident.”

The family said government officials who visited earlier yesterday had promised to help with the costs of the funeral.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube sent her condolences to the family. “We are saddened to learn of the incident. Again, Mother Nature has cast a dark shadow upon us. We wish to express our condolences to the bereaved,” Dube said.

The family has yet to decide on a funeral date.

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