Mpolweni family prays helpers will find body of drowned girl (12)

2019-03-12 15:56
Talente Yolanda Ngcobo who drowned in Mpolweni.PHOTO:

Talente Yolanda Ngcobo who drowned in Mpolweni.PHOTO:

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The family of a 12-year-old girl feared drowned in a fast-flowing river in Mpolweni are praying to at least find her body after she was washed away on Sunday morning.

Talente Yolanda Ngcobo, from Swayimani, was attending a weekend reed dance event for virgins in Mpolweni when the incident happened.

Thobeka Ngoco, Talente’s cousin, said Talente had arrived in Mpolweni on Friday afternoon and on Sunday morning the girls went to bathe in the river, as is their tradition.

Thobeka said the girls, along with older women who were accompanying them, had to cross a low-water bridge that was flooded. “As she was crossing over she slipped and was washed away by the water.

“Another young girl jumped into the water trying to rescue Talente, but she was also washed away,” said Thobeka.

Lungelo Cele, who was walking close by when the girls were swept away, heard the women screaming and jumped into the river to help.

“I didn’t even think twice, I just went in and only managed to grab the girl who had jumped in to save Talente.

“I went back into the water to try and grab Talente, but she just disappeared in front of me. I tried looking for her but the water was moving too fast and strong, I couldn’t find her,” said Cele.

When The Witness arrived in Mpolweni on Monday morning, Cele and another local man, Thabiso Mazibuko, were already in the water searching for Talente.

The men said they had searched until late on Sunday night and were back to searching again on Monday morning.

“We know these waters very well because we grew up in the area and we won’t rest until we find her body,” said Mazibuko.

The police search and rescue unit, along with a search dog, arrived at the scene around noon on Monday and joined in the search.

Fire department officers also joined in the search while other community members followed the search crew along the bank.

Thobeka, Talente’s cousin, thanked all those who were dedicated to finding Talente.

“The community of Mpolweni have shown us the true meaning of Ubuntu. One man was in the water until late last night and came out shivering.”

She said the family are heartbroken by the incident.

“Talente’s grandmother is very devastated, they were very close since Talente’s mother passed away,” she said.

Thobeka said Talente, like her name, was a very talented girl who loved participating in school and community activities. She was a Grade 6 pupil at Kwenzakwethu Primary School.

Talente Yolanda Ngcobo.

Speaker of Msunduzi Municipality, Jabu Ngubo, was also at the river showing support to Talente’s family.

“We just hope that the child’s body is found so that her family can also find closure. God will help them through this tough situation,” said Ngubo.

Cebile Zuma-Dube, the ward councillor in the area, said the entire community is shocked and saddened by the incident.

“We were happy that we would be hosting this beautiful event where girls would be dancing and singing to celebrate their purity, and had not anticipated such a tragedy.

“We are all very shocked and we are praying that God helps us find this child’s body,” she said.

Zuma-Dube said the danger associated with the low-lying bridge was something she had raised before and construction on a higher bridge is scheduled to start soon.

Talente’s body had not been found by Monday afternoon. The search will continue on Tuesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  drowning

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