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I tried to hang on to my baby ... but was left holding his blanket

By unknown | Mar 03, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

For the first time in four days, Pinky Mdakane visited the scene where the devastating floods swept away her 20-day-old son.

Gift Junior Mdakane has not been found since that dreadful Thursday afternoon in Meadowlands, Soweto.

Orlando Chauke, a 29-year-old taxi driver, and a yet-to-be-identified cyclist disappeared with Junior. They are still missing.

More than 40 people were injured and 200 families were left destitute.

The township has been declared a disaster area.

When tragedy struck, Mdakane was on her way from the Department of Home Affairs in nearby Orlando , where she had collected her seven-year-old son Sthembiso's birth certificate.

She told Sowetan yesterday: "I wish I could have saved my baby.

She could not express how she felt when the other people she was with in the taxi just jumped out and left her and the baby inside as the neck-high waters started coming inside the taxi.

"When I left Home Affairs it started raining and I went to a nearby house and asked for shelter just until the rain stops.

A few minutes later it had stopped and I left and caught a taxi to Meadowlands," she said.

"A few minutes later it started raining heavily.

When the taxi reached Meadowlands Zone 9 there was a lot of water on the road. it stalledswitched off and the driver tried turning it on but it did not.

"People were panicking and stood on seats. One by one they jumped out and I was left inside."

She said she then decided to get out of the taxi.

"I thought it was going to overturn because the water volumes were high and strong. I got out and the water pushed me and I fell. I managed to grab my baby.

"The water pushed me again and Gift slipped out of my hands. I tried reaching out but I was left with his blanket," she said sobbing.

Mdakane still has hope that her son will be found.

"All we want is to find him to be found so that we can bury him.

"The thought of not knowing where he is is killing us," said Gift's aunt Margaret Mgaga.


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