‘The support means so much’

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 the 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 lent their support to the grieving family.

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

The Witness spoke to Thuli Nxumalo the sister of a visibly 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,” said Nxumalo.

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 three children — Sinqobile (3), Zamambili (7) and Snenhlanhla (17) — will be held on Sunday at the FET College in Gamalakhe.

Mkhize offered his condolences said that the government will facilitate any counselling the family might need during this difficult time.

Radebe shared Mkhize’s sentiments and fought back tears while expressing 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.

He did not go to the lagoon on 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 anymore.”

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.

Speaking of the eldest of the three girls, Nxumalo looked back with fond yet painful memories.

“She was so clever; only 90% and above, nothing less,” she said of Snenhlanhla. She was doing financial management and wanted to be a chartered accountant.”

Nxumalo expects that similar scenes of mourning will take place at the family home today.

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