Ntuzuma horror crash parents relive tragedy at memorial service

2017-01-19 21:23

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Footage from the scene of the crash that claimed 4 pupils' lives

2017-01-11 11:11

The beginning of the school year was mired by tragedy on Wednesday when four scholars, three boys and a girl, were killed in a minibus taxi accident on Ingcebo Road.WATCH

Durban – Anna Myeni shook her head and wept softly as she sat in the front row at a memorial service held at the KwaMashu Christian Centre on Thursday for four pupils who were killed in an accident in Ntuzuma last week Wednesday.

Myeni begged her relative, Nokuthula Nkosi, to squeeze her hand tighter as if that would ease the pain of losing her daughter Thabisile, 16.

A day of excitement for Thabisile Myeni, Ntobeko Ngidi, Sicelokuhle Khumalo-Rubushe and Sibusiso Sibiya, quickly turned into tragedy when they were killed after a minibus taxi crashed into a bus on Nyala Road near a bus station. It was supposed to be the pupil's first day back for the 2017 school year.

It is thought that the taxi was overloaded as about 20 children were reportedly still recovering from the accident.

Thabisile's father, Nkosinathi Mjwara, said he was supposed to take the Grade 11 pupil and her brother to Sivananda High School on Wednesday.

He recalled how the pair cheerfully walked out of the door together as he saw them off on their first day of school.

'I watched them as they left'

"Her 13-year-old brother Njabulo was excited to be joining his sister at his new school, he was supposed to start Grade 8 this year."

Mjwara said his children had asked him to take them to school that morning, but for some reason he ended up letting them take public transport.

"I stood by the door and watched them as they left together."

After the children left Mjwara sat on the couch and suddenly had an uncomfortable and eerie feeling that something had happened.

Later he would receive a phone call informing him that an accident had occurred and he needed to rush to the scene.

"I did not take it seriously because I spoke to my son, but I did not know that it was because he had survived and had watched his sister die."

'I had high hopes for her'

Mjwara could not find the words to describe the horrific scene where he found his daughter's lifeless body already covered.

He smiled proudly and recalled how much his daughter loved music.

"She played the clarinet. I had high hopes for her."

He said he would miss his daughter who he said was also tech savvy.

Thabise Myeni

Ntobeko's uncle Musa Ngidi said he was at his Amanzimtoti home last week when he heard about the accident.  

"One of my friends posted the accident on Facebook and I commented about it saying I feel sorry for the families, but I did not know that my nephew was among the deceased."

'He wanted to play for Kaizer Chiefs'

Ntobeko, 16, was also expected to start Grade 11 at Sivananda High School on that fateful day.

Ngidi said he received a call from his older sister informing him that Ntobeko did not make it to school that morning. The family started to panic after his phone went to voicemail.

"We went to all of the hospitals and later found him at Phoenix Mortuary."

Ngidi said the image of his lifeless nephew's body kept flashing through his mind.

Ntobeko had dreams of becoming a firefighter, his uncle said.

"He said he would start as a firefighter and end up as an engineer. He also wanted to play for Kaizer Chiefs…What hurts is that the driver has not even bothered to say sorry for what he did."  

Ntobeko Ngidi

Bag found in wreckage

Bonginkosi Khumalo, the father of Grade 8 pupil Sicelokuhle, said he was devastated that his son did not make it to his desk on his first day at Sibonelo High School.

Khumalo said he received a phone call from his daughter Mbali informing him that she was worried that her brother had not made it to school.

"She went to check up on him and he was not in his class, she also could not find him during break time. She was in tears."

Khumalo said he immediately rushed home and his neighbours told him that there had been an accident.

"I went to his mother's house, where he lived, and she told me he was wearing his school uniform, a tie and [had] a Nike bag."

He said his neighbours went to the scene and found Sicelokuhle's school bag in the wreckage.

"I went to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, he was not there. I went to all the other hospitals until midnight and I could not find him."

Clinging to hope that his son was still alive, the following day Khumalo went back to all the hospitals and searched for his son again. He even checked for him at police stations but his son was nowhere to be found, he said.

Sicelokuhle Khumalo-Rubushe

'I will never forget'

"I went to the school and it was only then that teachers discovered that he was also missing."

Khumalo said he was left with one option: to check mortuaries.

"When we arrived at the mortuary there was a mix up with the identities of the children. We found out that my boy had been positively identified by another family.

"We had to come the following day so that we could make sure that we clear the matter. The other family insisted that my son's remains were theirs and a lot of arguing took place in the mortuary."

Eventually the two families were forced to take the bodies out of the body bags.

"We had to search for marks on his body that he was born with. They called the mother of the other unidentified boy, and the mother managed to identify his son using his hands and feet…"

Khumalo said he was traumatised.

"When I found him, there was a big open wound on his face, another next to his eye and the bones on his wrists and elbows were out. I will never forget."

Sibusiso Sibiya


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