Widow narrates tragedy of losing five family members

The Chronicle

Lumbidzani Dima, Chronicle Reporter
Death has never been anyone’s friend.

It’s never easy losing a loved one but what happens when you lose five loved ones all at once, in sudden deaths? Can one really pick up the pieces?

Mrs Nobuhle Mkandla (57) of Entumbane suburb provides the answers as she has gone through it all.

She lost five family members — four children and a grandchild in a road accident in South Africa in July last year. They perished in Polokwane as they were coming from Johannesburg to Bulawayo to visit her.

On the way, the siblings were communicating with their mother but communication suddenly stopped at around 7pm on the fateful day. Mrs Mkandla was the last to send a WhatsApp message that went unanswered.

Tragedy had struck.
Nomasiko Mkandla (33) died together with her four-year-old son Jayden Moabe as well as her siblings Mluleki (30), Thulani (26), Mthabisi (22) the last born in the family and a malayitsha friend Vusa Makukisi who was accompanying them.

Mrs Nobuhle Mkandla with her daughter Ms Senelisiwe Mkandla (left) and her niece Mbali Mkandla

The pain was too much for Mrs Mkandla, a widow since 2007.
The family tragedy touched many people and Government and they provided assistance.

A Chronicle news crew visited Mrs Mkandla, slightly more than two weeks after she had spent her first Christmas Day without her children.

Entering her house, the news crew observed that the walls of the lounge are adorned with photos of every departed family member.

Mrs Mkandla said following the fatal road accident, she could not handle the situation and felt as if the pain would take her away as well. She said for three months she survived on porridge only.

Mrs Mkandla said she never got counselling because she thought it was pointless as it could not bring back her children.

“At first, I was feeling a lot of pain; I could not handle it. I was so broken to an extent that I could only swallow porridge by force, nothing else. I could not do anything rather than just sit and stare into thin air,” she said.

“I could not go for counselling because I could not afford it, and the thought of it not healing my heart made me not push for it. The wound that I had and still have shall forever exist no matter what.”

Mrs Mkandla said the death of her children never made her doubt God’s existence.

When some family members suggested consulting sangomas to seek answers, she refused.

She said this was because some questioned the death of five members all at once and someone suggested that her children were attacked by people who thought that they had a lot of money which they were bringing to Zimbabwe to build a house.

“I never doubted God even after my children left me. Some family members tried talking me into seeking answers of what really happened traditionally. I told myself that as a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) member I will not do that because seeking answers or anything will not bring my children back,” she said.

Mrs Mkandla said when her husband died in 2007, she decided to raise her children alone as she felt remarrying would create problems and result in a gulf between her and her children.

She lives with her late daughter’s daughter who just completed Grade 7.
Mrs Mkandla only “found closure “ when she visited South Africa and the spot where her children died.

“I started regaining and accepting that for sure my children and grandson are gone in October. I went to South Africa to pack and collect their stuff, and I was shown the spot where my dearests’ souls were taken. I accepted the situation from then, and said goodbye to them. That is when I started eating something solid, even if some days I still can’t,” she said.

“After that, I could work in the garden, clean the house, do some washing and other things around the house.”

She said she and her granddaughter and two other surviving children now live on her late husband’s pension.

One of her surviving children, Senelisiwe Mkandla said they were very close as a family, and she believes that she survived because she was in Zimbabwe, otherwise she could have travelled with her siblings.

Mrs Mkandla said she appreciates the support she got from the whole country and also from outside Zimbabwe when her children died.

She however, added that she still misses her children and her grandson and there are times that triggers a lot of memories.
At some point, she thought of giving up on life, but then remembered that she has a grandchild, whom she is now living for, together with her two surviving children.

“I always miss all of them, but the recent moment when I cried missing them was New Year’s Day. When everyone was saying ‘happy new year’, I prayed and broke down, because they used to compete to say happy new year to me on the phone.

“I miss all of them equally, but I feel like my youngest son’s life was short lived. All of them had not yet lived life to the fullest, they were still young,” she said looking at each of their pictures on the wall.

Mrs Mkandla urged everyone who feels like giving up after losing a loved one to put everything in God’s hands.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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