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NSANGWINI-A 78-year- old granny and her grandchild (4) were burnt beyond recognition after the thatched house they were sleeping in caught fire.

The incident occurred at Nsangwini, a remote place situated near Mahlangatja, in Mankayane on Tuesday at around 8pm.
According to Mfunwa Nhlabatsi (57), her mother, Gogo Lombaliso Maseko who was sickly and sometimes allegedly mentally unstable due to old age, always slept with the lamp on.

“Sometimes she would crawl to the door and leave the house whic was dangerous. Therefore, we had to make sure that we took good care of her by making sure the lamp was off, she was in bed and the door was locked.”


“We also stopped using candles because we feared a similar incident would occur, not knowing that the lamp we later bought would also lead to her death,” Nhlabatsi also said.

While sleeping, it is suspected that the lamp fell onto blankets after she had tried crawling and the house caught fire.
Nhlabatsi stated that before he discovered that the hut had caught fire, he heard a sound and suspected it was lightning as the weather had changed on the night.

“After a while, when I peeped through the window, I saw a huge flame coming from the hut. As a result of the cold, we always prepared fire inside the hut, so to keep her and her four-year-old grandson warm, however, we had put it out before they slept.

“I immediately went out and raised the alarm for residents to assist in putting out the fire. I also tried to get assistance from neighbours to rescue my mother and the little boy who were both still inside the hut,” Nhlabatsi alleged.

He added that when other residents eventually came to assist, the roof had already collapsed and they could not rescue the now deceased Gogo Maseko and her grandson, Banele Purena Mdluli.

Members of the public are said to have fetched water from their homes using buckets and other containers in a bid to put out the fire.
The police from Mahlangatja Police Post, led by Inspector Muzi Phungwayo, arrived at the scene at 8:30pm and found the two bodies already burnt beyond recognition.


The police, after taking pictures of the two bodies, took them to Mankayane Government Hospital, where they were certified dead before being taken to the mortuary.

Fire and Emergency Services personnel also arrived at the scene, however, the fire had already been put out by the residents.
“On the night of the incident, she literally refused that I put out the light and told me she feared getting attacked by tilwane (strange dreams).

“She always told us she was troubled by such dreams every night and would go out of the house and get lost, therefore we had no alternative but to always lock the door.

“As a family, we are still traumatised by the incident, our mother was old and sickly, however, she did not deserve to die the way she did. On top of that, the fire incident claimed the life of an innocent child, we are shattered,” Nhlabatsi added.
One of the residents, only identified as Babe Mkhwanazi said the fire incident was the most painful encounter he had ever come across in his life.

“I heard the screams and immediately heard the woman’s elder son shouting for assistance. There was nothing we could do because as soon as people came running with buckets and containers of water, the whole house collapsed and buried the two,” Mkhwanazi said yesterday.

He added that even those who had witnessed the fire had been left shocked and traumatised by it.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba confirmed the incident and said the police were conducting further investigations.


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