Lives left in ruines

By Drum Digital
10 October 2011

She sits on the rubble that was once her home?and draws her son closer to her. Solfa Mkhatshwa (23) stares in an uncomprehending daze at the street in Duduza which teems with homeless people.

They’re sifting through the piles of debris, trying to salvage whatever they can from under heaps of bricks and twisted corrugated iron.

Little Fanafuthi (7) rests his bandaged head on her bosom, seeking his mother’s comfort, clearly still in shock over the devastation he has survived.

When DRUM arrives in Masechaba Extension 2 in Duduza, the township resembles the aftermath of a Hollywood disaster movie.

Emergency workers,?the Red Cross, military police,?members of the SAPS, social workers, homeless people, ambulance?and fire engine personnel all trawl through the rubble looking for the injured – and for those who didn’t survive. Mournful sirens are a sorrowful soundtrack to the horror around them.

It’s a day after tornadoes swept through Duduza, east of Joburg, and Meqheleng township outside Ficksburg in the eastern Free State, leaving death and destruction in its wake. It took just a few minutes for the force of nature to flatten more than 2?000 homes, leaving thousands destitute.

Besides losing all her meagre possessions on 2 October, Solfa also lost her son, Xolani (8), who died on the way to hospital after their house in?Masechaba Extension 2 collapsed under the force of the tornado.

Read more about this devastation in DRUM, 13 October 2011.

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