PHOTO: Pieter and Santa Prinsloo in their granddaughter Shante´’s room where her school bag was all packed and ready for the start of her first year at high school.
Pieter Prinsloo couldn’t stop crying when he had to make that awful phone call. How does one tell a woman that the second of her three daughters is dead? And her son-in-law, and her grandchild.
Ansie Neethling had lost her 24-year-old daughter Linda to a heart attack – and then her second daughter died when she, her husband and their daughter were swept over a waterfall in the Mpumalanga Lowveld.
“Ansie, our children are dead,” was all Pieter managed to say.
Ansie is the mother-in-law of his son, Pieter (38), whose body had been retrieved from a pool below the waterfall along with that of his wife, Adéle (36), and daughter, Shanté (13). An entire family wiped out in a freak accident three days after Christmas.
Pieter Snr stares at the stripped Christmas tree in his son’s home in Benoni on the East Rand as he talks about the tragedy for the first time.
His wife, Santa, has taken the decorations down. “I’m a zombie. I don’t have any more tears,” she says.
Pieter has stopped asking questions. “It was God’s will. My son wouldn’t have wanted to live without them.” But that doesn’t make the family’s pain any more bearable. “Losing one child is terrible. Losing three at the same time is indescribable.”
Read more of Herman Scholtz’s article in YOU 17 January 2013.