Her father‚ Pastor Fano Ngcamu‚ who headed the Inkonyane Zion Church‚ had taken pity on her as she had arrived in the early hours of the morning from Durban where she works.
Nomthandazo Ngcamu had already put on her white and blue Zion church uniform and was ready to board a minibus taxi that was ferrying congregants to a tombstone unveiling ceremony on Sunday morning when her father told her that she wouldn’t be going.
Little did she realise his kindness would save her life.
Less than two hours later‚ she received a chilling telephone call that a minibus taxi carrying people who were wearing the same church uniform as hers had overturned and many of them had died on the spot.
Panicked‚ Nomthandazo rushed to the scene of the horrific accident just up the tarred road from her home — the Msunduzi Bridge near Nagle Dam in KwaXimba near Cato Ridge‚ halfway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
Her worst fears were confirmed when she arrived at the scene. Her father‚ Fano‚ 86‚ brother Siyabulela‚ 38‚ sisters Zodwa‚ 55‚ and Zanele‚ 54‚ were among 19 church members who had been killed in the accident.
Nomthandazo recounted the horrific scene of the accident during a prayer service held at KwaXimba Community Hall on Monday.
Nomthandazo [whose name means prayer] implored other families who lost their loved ones to resort to prayer like her name in this difficult time.
“I’m the only one who is left who to look after the family‚” she said. Her brother left behind three children‚ one in matric and the other two in grades 9 and 7.
Another woman‚ Sibongile Ndlovu‚ 46‚ broke down during the service after being overcome by emotion. She told TimesLIVE that she had lost two aunts‚ Mhlophe and Thembeka Ndlovu‚ and a grandchild‚ Zothani Ndlovu‚ in the accident. Eleven children were now left alone.
“There was no man in the family and only these aunts and now these children have no one to look after them‚” she said.
Equally distraught was Dumisani Ndlovu who lost his sister‚ Gladness Thokozani Zondi‚ 48‚ his brother’s wife‚ Nokuthula Nonjabulo Ndlovu‚ 32‚ and nephew Mbali Ndlovu‚ 25‚ in the accident.
The names of the other accident victims have not been revealed.
The relatives of the victims were comforted by members of the church and local leaders who offered their condolences. Twelve passengers‚ including the driver of the minibus taxi‚ survived the accident and were rushed to hospitals in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
The driver is said to have told the passengers that the vehicle’s brakes weren’t working as soon as he reached the main tarred road with hairpin bends after picking up some of them in the valley.
It is believed that the taxi hit the barrier on the main road and rolled about 15 metres down an embankment.
The families of the victims are still busy with funeral arrangements in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport‚ Community Safety and Liaison‚ which has promised to assist them.