Two die after wall, tree fall in wind

2019-11-14 10:07
Thunyeliwe Ndlovu (63) lost her son Sphe (40), who died as their house collapsed on him as the tornado swept through Mpolweni on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

Thunyeliwe Ndlovu (63) lost her son Sphe (40), who died as their house collapsed on him as the tornado swept through Mpolweni on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

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Tow families, one in Mpolweni and another in Cramond, lost their homes and loved ones to Tuesday’s tornado.

Recalling the traumatic twister that cost her son his life in Mpolweni on Tuesday afternoon, Thunyeliwe Ndlovu (63) said she never thought she would live to see such a disaster.

Speaking to The Witness outside her demolished home, clutching her green ID book, her social pension card and some folded documents in her hands, Ndlovu said she had only previously seen tornadoes on television, and never thought that she would one day lose her child, Sphe Ndlovu (40), to one.

“I was with Sphe and my granddaughter Zinhle in one of the rooms when the storm started. It got stronger so I went to fetch a jersey from my bedroom, which is in another house.

“That’s when the storm got worse, so I decided to stay inside my bedroom. I heard Zinhle and Sphe screaming and then everything went quiet.”

Ndlovu said after the storm passed, she and Zinhle started screaming for help when they realised that a wall had collpased on Sphe.

“The entire wall from one side of the house had fallen on top of him. I was panicking trying to move the bricks to help my son, but they were too heavy for me.

“One of our neighbours had to use a five-pound hammer to break the bricks and we found Sphe lying there already dead.

“I can never get that image out of my head,” she said, her tears flowing.

Ndlovu, who had a small tuckshop business, said she was staying at a relative’s home close by. She said all her furniture, food and even her tuckshop stock, were damaged when her house collapsed.

Nonhlanhla Buthelezi (45), from Thokozani in Cramond, across the main Greytown Road from Mpolweni, was crushed to death when a tree fell onto her house. Her devastated daughter, Noluthando (19), said her mother had instructed her and the three other younger children, to run to the neighbour’s house for shelter during the tornado and promised that she would follow them. The house collapsed before she could leave. “She was busy putting blankets where there were leaks.

“She had said she would follow us but after a few minutes I started getting worried. When I looked outside, the huge tree was lying flat on our house,” she said.

Noluthando said neighbours managed to remove the rubble and get her mother out. “She was still alive when we got to her so we placed her on a mattress while we waited for the ambulance. She died lying there before the ambulance came.”

Noluthando Buthelezi (19) is devastated after her mother, Nonhlanhla (45), was killed when when a tree fell on her home in Cramond on Tuesday afternoon. 

She said her younger siblings, in Grade 1 and 3, did not go to school on Wednesday because all their clothes and schoolbooks were lost in the rubble.

She said the government delegation visited her on Wednesday, but despite them having lost everything in the storm, they left her with nothing.

“I was hoping that they would at least leave us with food, but they said they didn’t have anything to help us and they left. They promised they would come back,” she said.

Noluthando, her siblings and one-year-old baby were also taken in by relatives.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn tornado

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