Father cradles dying son next to his dead daughter after crash

2016-02-18 12:00
Thelile Shezi, 16 and her brother Phumelele, 15, were killed on Wednesday morning when a taxi crashed into them while standing on the side of the road. (Picture supplied)

Thelile Shezi, 16 and her brother Phumelele, 15, were killed on Wednesday morning when a taxi crashed into them while standing on the side of the road. (Picture supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - Mthandi Shezi cradled his teenage son - bloodied from being crushed by an out-of-control minibus taxi - as he heaved his last breath.

And so close that he could touch her, lay the body of his teenage daughter. He was too late to say goodbye to her for the last time.

On Wednesday morning, Shezi's two youngest children, Thelile, 16, and her brother Phumelele, 15, were killed when a taxi mounted a curb and careened into them at the Isipingo Reunion Station.

- Read more: 'Absolute carnage' as taxi ploughs into pedestrians

The siblings were pupils at Umlazi Comtech High School. They had been waiting at the roadside for transport to a study session.

They were among four people killed in the incident.

As rain fell on the taxi rank, paramedics rushed from body to body.

In the midst of the chaos and debris, Shezi, a security guard and single father, sat quietly. He had run almost a kilometre to the scene after he heard the sound of the crash.

But he would have given anything to erase the moments when he got closer to the scene and recognised the school uniforms. It was in those moments he knew his life, and that of his three other children, would never be the same again.

Keeping a tight lid on his own grief, Shezi said he had to remain strong for his other children. He was, after all, the only person they could turn to after his wife died of breast cancer in 2011.

"If I break down, then they will break down. I have to be strong."

(Garrith Jamieson, Rescuecare)

'He took his last breath in my arms'

In the wake of their deaths, Shezi recounted the last time he had seen his children alive.

He said his five children - Skhumbuzo, 27, Thandokuhle, 25, Wendy, 22, Thelile, 16 and Phumelele, 15 – were usually fast asleep when he left for work around 04:00 every morning.

"I usually call the landline [from work] so that they can wake up, it is their alarm clock," he said.

On the fateful morning, he called the landline twice and knew that his children were getting ready for school.

"I was at Reunion Station at work and I was talking to someone and I heard a loud bang not too far from us."

Shezi said the noises came from less than a kilometre away from where he was stationed, so he ran as quickly as he could to investigate.

"As I got closer, I saw four school children in Comtech uniforms and my heart started racing because my children go to that school."

Shezi said when he got closer to the debris he noticed his daughter’s lifeless body.

"My son Phumelele was lying not too far from her. I rushed to him and held his hand and he took his last breath in my arms."


'I am heartbroken'

Shezi said he still couldn’t believe that his children were gone.

"I was shocked to see them in that state."

He said after his son had died, he called the police and tried to assist those who were still alive.

"They arrived and told me to step back and I watched as they took them away and cleared the scene, as if nothing had happened. I am heartbroken."

He said he would miss the jokes he shared with his youngest children.

"We used to spend time together, the children were very close. My children are my best friends. I am their pillar of strength and I have to keep it together," he said.

Phumelele and Thelile will be buried on Sunday.

Read more on:    durban  |  accidents

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Hip Cape Town bars to discover this summer
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.