Family, friends say their last goodbye to little Angel Sibanda

2016-03-03 15:59

Diepsloot – Friends, family and community members held a touching memorial service for six-year-old Angel Sibanda who died on Thursday last week after she was caught in a flash flood in Diepsloot.

It is believed that Sibanda was swept away by floods while walking home from school. She and a few of her friends tried to cross a low-lying area during heavy rainfall. Her body was recovered in the Jukskei River on Sunday.

Her memorial service at Diepsloot Primary School on Thursday was attended by about 300 people, including all of her school friends.

An emotional Eveline Shikwambane, Sibanda's teacher, said she had greeted the little girl when she left the school that day, but didn't know it was the last time she would ever say goodbye to her.

"When they left in the rain I said 'bye'. I didn't know it was going to be the last time. I was told on Friday that one of my learners had disappeared. After that, my weekend was never a good one.

"All I wished the entire time was that when I went back to the school on Monday she would be found playing with the rest of her friends."

'We all have failed her'

According to Shikwambane, the six-year old was a busy girl who had a natural talent for mathematics.

"I know how the family feels with the pain of losing someone they love. I feel the same at the moment.

"I keep asking myself a lot of questions. What if I just didn't let them out?"

Some of Sibanda's school friends sang a song for the friend they had lost.

"May your precious soul rest in perfect peace. Suddenly you are gone. You will be missed by all of us," they sang.

School principal Joe Makhafola said that he was deeply hurt by what had happened.

"It is not the right platform for pointing fingers. But we all have failed her. The government has failed her. The school has failed her and the community has failed her," he said.

"We learn from past experiences and this is a lesson to the community of Diepsloot." 

Sibanda's friend, Ntlatla Makapela, told News24 that he always thought of her as a good person.

"She will be very much missed."

Her father, Thabani Tshuma, told News24 earlier in the week that he would never get to hear his daughter's footsteps as she ran home from school or watch her as she quickly changed out of her uniform to go and play with her friends in front of their humble home. 

'I felt a pain that I can't even describe'

He would also never again have the chance to call her back home when the sun begins to set.

"Angel. Even the neighbours knew her. She was a child who loved playing," he recalled.

"You would never find her [in the house]. She would arrive home, take off her uniform and go straight to her friends.

"You always had to call her and tell her to come back in the house. If you didn't call her, she would continue playing. She was just a child."

Tshuma said he felt an indescribable pain after realising his only daughter had died. He found it difficult to sleep that night.

"I felt a lot of pain when I saw her. I felt a pain that I can't even describe.

"Even now, on some days I can't sleep because I feel hard pains in my heart. But I just drink a glass of cold water and I find myself falling asleep after some time.

"Imagine separating from your child in the morning when she's heading to school and coming back to find that she is no longer alive."

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