'Ma, I will be back just now' - boy killed by stray bullet minutes before New Year

2017-01-03 11:46


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Durban – Ten minutes before the clock struck 00:00 on December 31, was the last time that Zimbili Nyadi saw her 12-year-old son, Lindelwa.

The night's festivities quickly turned into tragedy, as - just minutes into the new year - her son’s body was brought in by four of his friends after he was struck by a stray bullet fired during loud fireworks that were being set off.

"Ma, I am just here on the road, I will be back just now," Lindelwa told Nyadi as he turned his back to her to join his friends setting off fireworks that his father, Lindinkosi Nyadi, 47, had bought for him and his sister, Thobe.

The 48-year-old mother of two said it was around 23:50 when her son left their Umlazi L Section home to celebrate the new year.

"They were firing fireworks with his friends. He said: 'Ma, I am just here on the road'."

Nyadi said that, shortly afterwards, four young boys had come rushing towards the family, carrying Lindelwa's body.

"I asked them what happened, because he was frothing at the mouth. They said they did not know what happened. They were just firing fireworks when he suddenly he fell to the ground."

Relatives poured water over the little boy’s body, but he did not wake up.

"They brought him inside the house and they laid him on the bed. He was vomiting. I noticed he had a small wound on the head and was bleeding profusely, and said we must take him to the hospital immediately."

'He saw that he was dying'

When the family arrived at the busy Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, they had to wait in a queue.  

"When we eventually saw the doctor and did X-rays, they told us that they found a bullet in his head. When his father arrived at the hospital, he found him breathing, but not moving. He saw that he was dying."

The family was told that Lindelwa would be transferred to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital so that specialists could try to remove the bullet.

On Sunday, when the family arrived at Prince Mshiyeni, they were told that Lindelwa had been taken to Inkosi Albert and when they arrived there, they were told that he had been taken back to Prince Mshiyeni.

Nyadi said she was confused by these actions.

"I think the nurse was afraid to tell me that they could not remove the bullet from his head because it had touched his brain, and that is why they took him back to Prince Mshiyeni."

Nyadi instructed her husband to go and check up on Lindelwa at Prince Mshiyeni.

"They did not want to tell him the truth, but he looked at the file and saw that they could not remove the bullet."

Lindelwa’s father was later informed of the news.

'We are all not okay'

She said she had called the hospital around 21:00 on Sunday night and that the nurses had told her that her son had died at 20:00.

"I still can’t believe that he is gone. I think I have accepted what happened. While everyone was celebrating the New Year, we were busy trying to save my son’s life. All the celebrating turned into tragedy."

She said her husband was not coping with what had happened.

"We are all not okay."

Lindelwa, who attended Sukuma Primary School in Umlazi, is expected to be buried over the weekend.

Ward 83 councillor Bhekizitha Mngwengwe said the community was shattered by the incident.

"We don’t know who did this. They fired shots while the kids were playing with fireworks. It is so sad."

Ethekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said she was also saddened by the incident.

"I will be visiting the family to comfort them and wish them strength as (they) grieve. We will assess and see how else we can assist the family.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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