A FAMILY in Entumbane, Bulawayo is mourning the death of five of its members in a horrific accident which claimed six people on Saturday in Polokwane, South Africa.
Of the six, four are siblings from the Mkandla family and their four-year-old grandson.
The sixth person who was in the Toyota Corolla Quest was a friend of one of the late siblings who owned the car and had requested him to assist with driving but was not the one driving when the accident occured.
When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the family’s residence yesterday afternoon, the mother of the deceased, Mrs Nobuhle Mkandla (57), a widow, was weeping uncontrollably and was being consoled by close relatives.
Family spokesperson, Ms Nothando Ncube, Mrs Mkandla’s sister was struggling to hold back tears as she narrated what they were told had transpired .
“Sitshelwe ngamanzi mntanami. The children were coming from South Africa to visit their mother. From Jo’burg when they left they were communicating with their mother. It’s only around 7 pm when their mother sent Whatsapp messages for which she could not get responses. She spoke to those in Jo’burg who also said they were struggling to get in touch with them,” she said as she shed tears.
Ms Ncube said the siblings were using a car belonging to one of them.
She named the deceased as Nomasiko Mkandla (33) who died together with his four-year-old son Jayden Moabe, Mluleki Mkandla (30), Thulani Mkandla (26), Mthabisi Mkandla (22) the last born in the family and a malayitsha friend identified as Vusa Makukisi who was accompanying them.
Nomasiko is survived by a child who is in Grade seven while the other siblings did not have children.
“We are yet to get the full details of what really transpired but from what we are gathering three cars were involved. Their car was involved in a head-on collision and during the process another car rammed the side of their car. They were trapped and emergency services in South Africa had to cut open the car to retrieve them. Three of them died on the spot while Thulani Mkandla, the car owner and the one who was driving when the accident happened, was thrown out of the car on impact and died in hospital. The grandson died in hospital as well,” she said.
Ms Ncube said the deceased’s mother who was worried throughout the night only got the news of the accident on Sunday morning after a relative she was with in the house received a Whatsapp message on her phone while family elders were making plans on how to break the news to her. She said the family sent an elderly relative who stays in North End suburb to break the news to her in the morning but when he got to the Entumbane house she had already been told.
Ms Ncube said her sister is grief stricken and periodically collapses and is failing to eat or sleep.
“Umumo awuthambanga lapha, umnawami kazazi ukuthi ungaphi. She has lost 4 of her 6 children at one go. Ithumbu lonke lihambile. It’s only the two who are in Zimbabwe who remain, the rest are gone. We are trying as a family to assist but it’s beyond us,” she said.
She said the family is shattered and does not know how they will pool resources together for the burials.
She appealed for help from well wishers from both locally and in South Africa as they have a huge burden.
“We are appealing to those who can provide counselling services to help my sister. She is failing to cope with the situation. She is hypertensive as well and her condition is a great concern to us. We also appeal for food and financial help, and funeral parlours who can assist to bury our children,” she said.
Ms Ncube said the family yesterday sent a delegation together with Entumbane -Emakhandeni MP Dingilizwe Tshuma to Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube to appeal for help from the Government.
She said the family wishes to bury their relatives as soon as possible once resources permit considering the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Ncube said it is impossible for the family to prevent people coming to console them as the news has affected the whole community and only a quick burial could help stem any potential spread of the virus.
Mr Tshuma, who visited the family yesterday, also appealed for help on behalf of the family as they are in a difficult situation. “This is a sad moment for the family and the whole Entumbane community; losing people like that is painful. I appeal to well-wishers to assist the family so that they can bury their loved ones. We also reached out to the office of the minister of state to assist and she promised to act on the matter,” said Mr Tshuma.
He urged members of the community to be mindful of Covid-19 as they console the family.
Mourners are gathered at house number 30957/28 Entumbane
Those willing to help can call the family spokesperson Ms Ncube on 0773 718 – Chronicles