Tragedy as Four people die as wall collapses during payment of bride price ceremony
On Saturday, October 4, a wall collapsed on guests during a payment of bride price ceremony (lobola) in GaChuene Thokgwaneng, South Africa, killing four individuals.
When a heavy wind blew, it was reported that guests attending the ceremony were sat in a tent close to an unroofed building. Three people were killed and several more were injured when the wall collapsed. One of the injured people died later in the hospital.
Phinias Yika, the bride’s brother and the family representative said;
“As the Yika family, we are still in shock about what happened on Saturday. It was supposed to be a celebration day as they were paying a bride price for my sister … it was a lobola negotiation ceremony.”
The incident happened rapidly, according to Phinias, who noted that the wind began to speed up at 5 p.m. When the incident occurred, the bride and her in-laws had already left.
“It was 1.5m or 2m away from the wall. The wind was so strong and collapsed the wall. It fell on top of the tent while people were inside. It happened so fast. After a few minutes, there was dust and we couldn’t see what happened, but we knew that there were people inside [the tent]. After getting a clear view of what happened, that is when we saw that there were people trapped inside and we tried to remove them.
“For the lobola negotiations, we finished early, at about 12 pm to 1 pm. The in-laws said they were going to fetch their bride at about 5 pm. Immediately after they left, the disaster started. They had already left with their bride and most of the people had left to accompany the bride.
“The few who were remaining and were involved in the incident were the ones who were left behind.”
He said the couple was still traumatised by the incident, especially the bride-to-be. Phinias also revealed that it was not uncommon for roads in the area to be damaged and roofs were blown away during windy and rainy weather.
The eyewitness said;
“She cannot even get out of the house right now. She can’t even talk to anyone. She is still in shock, she is also still afraid.
“We are still in shock, even my wife and everyone in the family is still in shock. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know what to say. We didn’t sleep last night. This thing is still new, we are still imagining that incident.”
Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, a spokesperson for the South African Police Service, said the deceased have been identified as Tiisetso Bushy Macheka, 36, Lesego Ribisi of Hwelereng village, 18, Phinias Maripane Kganyago of Gamashashane, and Samson Sambo.
Nkakareng Rakgoale, the Limpopo MEC for Social Development, expressed her sympathies to the victims’ families. Witness Tiva, a spokesperson for the Department, said a team of social workers had been dispatched to provide psychosocial support to the affected families and others.
“Other departments and other government institutions are also being brought in so that they can attend to identified areas of need.”
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