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Spiritual comfort in time of suffering

By unknown | Feb 16, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

"Enemy or no enemy, poison or no poison, we will move forward. Let us keep on praying, God will deliver us from this evil."

These were the words of the Reverend Moses Gabalebatse of the Bekkersdal Methodist Church on the West Rand during Wednesday night's emotional prayer service.

The service was held to remember the victims who died from eating contaminated food during the baptismal ceremony of pastor Peter Tlotleng's four-month-old son, Tlotlo. It was also to restore faith and hope for those victims still in hospital.

The AME building was packed to capacity with church members as well as sympathetic community members.

They sang and prayed as if their lives depended on it. Those spiritually charged collapsed.

Many broke down and cried when it was announced that 78-year-old Beatrice Mphulanyane had died at Leratong Hospital's intensive care unit. She was the fourth person to die.

Lindi Ndlovu, 10, was the youngest of the victims and the first to die.

Buti Monaemeng, another guest at the baptism, was buried on Tuesday.

The third victim, Joyce Mvaku, will be buried tomorrow in Bekkersdal.

"We are burying our brothers and sisters every week. God, please help us find answers to this catastrophe," said a tearful Tlotleng.

February 4 will always be embedded in the minds of the community of Bekkersdal and the surrounding areas as the day the tragedy began.

Blessed and glorious as the day was meant to be, it turned into a horrific incident many are trying to wake up from.

They had come to the baptism in droves, some from as far as Mafikeng.

Pastor Tlotleng had invited them to join him as he celebrated his son's new life.

He had prepared a meal for them to enjoy with his family. For four of them that meal became their last supper.

The church women had prepared food for the guests, as they usually did whenever there was a special occasion like this one.

A meal consisting of samp, rice, red meat and a variety of salads was served.

Everyone enjoyed the food and drinks. Everyone returned home safely that afternoon.

According to the people Sowetan spoke to, all hell broke loose that night.

Sarah Chabedi, one of the guests, said: "Just before 11pm at night I began to shiver. I was so cold I took out more blankets and tried to warm myself.

"Then I felt an excruciating pain in the stomach and started to vomit," she said

She was admitted to hospital the next day.

William Mokomeni has suffered severe after effects from the food poisoning and he now has to have a heart operation.


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