‘Prayer is carrying me’

2014-12-02 00:00

“I’M sorry I couldn’t go with them, but God obviously has other plans for me.”

This was the reaction of Hannelie Groenewald, whose husband Werner and children Rodé (15) and Jean-Pierre (JP, 17) were shot dead in a Taliban attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday.

She said yesterday in a telephonic interview with sister paper Beeld: “I have peace in my heart. I know where my ­husband and children are.

“It is hard, but there is so much to do here. Prayers are being said for me all over the world, so prayer is carrying me. I’m okay.”

She said she is staying with friends in the Afghan capital and hopes to ­return to South Africa in a “week or so” for the funeral.

“My life revolved around my ­husband and children and now they’re gone. It’s okay in the day while I’m busy, but nights are hard when I realise I alone survived.”

Hannelie, a doctor, and Werner had lived in Kabul for years working for NGO Partnership in Academics and Development (Pad).

Three Taliban members attacked the double-storey house where they lived, and where the Pad office was also located, on Saturday afternoon.

The organisation claimed it attacked the family for doing undercover ­Christian missionary work.

Hannelie was at work at a hospital, and heard about the attack when she was on her way home at about 4 pm.

“The attack was over when I got there. The same hospital is helping to prepare their remains for repatriation, while Pad will arrange the repatriation,” she said.

The children were shot in the head, and Werner was also shot. Afghan police shot two of the attackers before the third detonated a bomb he had strapped to himself.

An Afghan Pad staffer was also killed and two others critically wounded.

The chief of the Afghan police force resigned in the wake of the attack, which came after several others on Westerners in the city. He had also previously been a target of the Taliban.

“I don’t know what I am going to do next or if I will return to Kabul,” ­Hannelie said. “For now, I’ll return to South Africa until I know what the Lord wants me to do next.”

She said arranging to travel home is tricky because her credit card and ­personal documents were destroyed in the blast.

“Donations are pouring in from all over and I’m not worried. The British embassy is issuing me an emergency travel document.”

The Groenewalds had been a lifeline for two South Africans imprisoned in Kabul, before they were freed, and ­Hannelie is still worried about an ­Australian prisoner. “Who is going to look after him now?”

International Relations spokesperson Nelson Kgwete confirmed yesterday that the department has sent copies of the family’s identity documents to Kabul to facilitate their repatriation.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.