A KWANOBUHLE woman was astounded by the kind assistance of church members, who, after her home was engulfed by fire, rebuilt it within two weeks.
“I do not know what started the fire. I do not even want to think about it. All that I know is that God is good and I am so thankful that my family was saved and to the church for rebuilding our home,” said Neliswa Antonie (54) from 33 Ngcola Crescent in KwaNobuhle.
“You know, I am not even a member of St Thomas Presbyterian Church. They came out of their own goodwill.”
According to Antonie, the fire started in her bedroom during the early hours of Tuesday, July 2. She was not at home, but on duty at Netcare Cuyler Hospital, as an employee of Tsebo Cleaning Agency.
As it was during the school holidays, five of her grandchildren were at home with her husband, Balekile Antonie. The fire started in the room where her husband and two of the children were sleeping.
“My husband and one of my grandchildren, Esam (6) sustained severe burn wounds and were taken to Netcare Cuyler Hospital. Esam was admitted to the intensive care unit where he stayed for three weeks.
“Thank God they are okay now. The neighbours even rescued our dog that was on a chain close to the house.”
She said on the morning of the fire her son fetched her from work and told her that she must pray.
“I did not know what to pray for, but I prayed for God’s protection. He then told me about the fire. I was in total shock and could not believe my eyes when I saw that there was nothing left of our house.”
Reverend Andile George of the St Thomas Presbyterian Church said, “As a church we are looking at the needs in our community. Therefore, although they are not members of our congregation, we decided to assist the family.”
Last Sunday, Reverend George officially handed the rebuilt house to the Antonie family.
The church donated the bricks, roofing, aluminium windows, doors, bath, toilet and sink as well as beds and bedding. A family friend donated tiles. It is now at the expense of the Antonie family to have the house plastered and painted, ceilings fitted and to start from scratch buying furniture, clothing and all other necessary household items.
“The fire destroyed everything. All that I had was the uniform that I wore to work. I do not know what I would have done if it was not for St Thomas church, my neighbours and family friends for their help. May God bless them all,” said Antonie.
Her grandchild Esam Tshikila has been discharged from the intensive care unit, but is still in hospital.