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DLANGENI – A raging wildfire cost the life of a 60-year-old woman of Dlozini in the Hhohho Region on Saturday morning.

Thoko Valencia Zulu died about 200 metres from her home after she could not escape from the fire she was trying to put out. In an interview with her husband, Mandla Gama, he said the manner they discovered his wife’s body showed that she failed to escape the fire which had engulfed her from all directions. Gama said by the look of things, his wife was tired as she had begun the previous day attending to the threatening wildfire and also the fact that she had inhaled the smoke yet the area she had to walk in was steep. He said the deceased asked him that they go attend to the fire, which was coming towards their home.


Gama said it was around 10am when they decided, together with four other family members, to stop the fast approaching fire, which was about a kilometre away from their homestead, using tree branches. According to Gama, the wildfire started on Friday from the mountain close by their homestead and they attended to it. He said they tried calling the Eswatini National Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services (ENFRES) personnel but were told there was no transport. He said on Saturday morning, following the strong winds, the fire started all over again, and his wife asked that they attended to it once again. “We failed to control the fire and were already tired when I told my wife to rush back home using a short route as the fire was fast approaching,” said Gama. He said he headed back home at around 4pm, but when he arrived, his wife was not there.

Gama said the children mentioned that Zulu had hinted that she would go to Jerusalem, which was another area nearby, where some of the extended family members lived. Gama said they waited with the hope that she would return. However, as the day passed, they started getting worried and called the family members at Jerusalem, who also reported that she had not arrived there. “We tried looking for her mobile phone, which we discovered she had left behind.” He said they also made calls to other family members where she usually visited and they also said she had not set foot. Gama stated that one of his sons and three others decided to go and look for her following the fire trails at around 6pm. In an interview with Mduduzi, who is the deceased’s son, who led the search party, he said they searched for close to an hour when they eventually stumbled on their mother’s lifeless body.

Mduduzi said the body was burnt, including the clothing she was wearing, save for a hat which she was holding with one of her hands. “I called my father and requested that they bring a blanket with them.” Mduduzi said they arrived and then they called the police and other close family members, to inform them about the tragedy. The elderly man (Gama) said the family was devastated and had no funds for the burial as he was unemployed.  Members of the public who may want to reach out and assist the family to bury their loved one in dignity can call Muzi Gama on 7643 5895, Mduduzi on 7636 6058 or Sibonginkhosi Gama on 7621 1355.

...29 fires reported in 1 day

MBABANE - The Eswatini National Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services (ENFRES) attended 29 reported fire cases in one day. This is according to the Public Relations Officer, Mandla Dlamini. Dlamini stated that the cases were reported from Saturday until yesterday, at around 5pm. However, he said there were no deaths recorded in their reports and they were yet to investigate the death of the elderly woman. He acknowledged that they had a challenge with transport as there were a number of cases being attended to.

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