Gogo, 101, loses home

2015-07-07 09:48
Victoria Ntuli outside her home destroyed by fire in Cinderella Park.

Victoria Ntuli outside her home destroyed by fire in Cinderella Park. (Jonathan Burton)

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Pietermaritzburg - A woman said to be 101-years-old watched in disbelief as her home in Cinderalla Park, near Eastwood, was gutted by fire on Monday — a day after celebrating her birthday.

On Saturday, Victoria “MaMkhize” Ntuli celebrated her 101st birthday.

On Monday morning, she was inconsolable as she watched firefighters extinguish the blaze that gutted her home.

She sat quietly in a plastic chair, with shoulders hunched over, staring at the remains of her home as one of her granddaughters tried to comfort her.

Neighbours and relatives still dressed in pyjamas stood in clusters a short distance away.

The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.

Family members said a spark set clothing alight and then gutted the three corrugated iron structures attached to the main one-room house.

The structures were used by Ntuli’s children and grandchildren.

“You cannot believe that on Saturday we threw her a party to celebrate her 101st birthday, and today she has lost everything,” said one of her grandchildren, Ntombikhona Ngongoma.

It’s that party that Ntuli now believes was a bad omen for her family.

“I didn’t know anything,” she said of the surprise party. “They dressed me in a new dress; then they led me into the house where there were decorations and balloons. It was beautiful.”

Although Ntuli said the birthday party was a pleasant surprise, she added she did not expect nor want a party as she believed that parties for old people are bad luck.

She said all her peers who had birthday parties at an old age died shortly after the celebrations.

Ntuli will now have to share her one-room house with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Msunduzi Fire officer Vusi Kunene said, “It took us a very short time to put the fire out. Everything was alight. We understand that the fire was started by spark in an electricity cable.”

The family lost clothing, television sets and a laptop.

Meanwhile, a women suffered second-degree burns when her shack was destroyed in another fire in Khan Road, near Old Greytown Road, in Northdale on Monday. Her boyfriend was also seriously burnt.

Kunene, who also attended to that fire, said they suspected an electrical fault had started the fire.

“In the house there were flammable liquids such as paraffin … they suffered serious burn injuries.

“We understand that the couple have two children.

“Fortunately they were spending the night at a neighbour’s house and were not at home.”
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fires

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