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Family in pain over their'lost flower'

By Mhlaba Memela | Sep 15, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE family of the maiden who died in a stampede at the annual Royal Reed Dance ceremony is still trying to come to terms with her sudden death.

Mbali Mhlongo, 17, of Bonela in Durban, died after she was trampled upon when maidens scrambled to get promotional caps during the ceremony at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma at the weekend.

And another maiden, Noxolo Mbatha, 17, from Hluhluwe, also died after complaining of a headache. She had been rushed to hospital.

The death of the two maidens is the second tragedy to take place at a reeds laying ceremony.

Last year, a 17-year-old virgin was raped, after she was dragged into nearby bushes.

Yesterday, a government delegation led by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for arts and culture Weziwe Thusi visited the distraught family to pay tribute to Mbali

Friends, relatives and neighbours gathered at her home to sympathise with her family.

Mbali's mother and family wept openly when the government delegation arrived at their home.

Trying hard to fight back the tears, Mbali's grandfather, Mason Mhlongo, said his granddaughter was the "flower" and hope of the family. He said the family bore no grudges for her death.

"We are in pain with the death of Mbali but we believe that God chose to take her while she was so young.

"We were very angry after hearing the news of Mbali's death but we are now in peace after hearing about the series of events that led to her death," said Mhlongo.

Mbali was a Grade 12 at Bonela Secondary School.

One of the leaders who was looking after the maidens who were with Mbali, Lipuo Ngobese, was in pain over her death.

"Mbali was separated from other maidens at the event due to her beautiful traditional outfit while carrying a reed to the palace.

"We looked for her the whole night with the hope that she was with her friends. I went to hospital to see whether she was among the injured maidens but she was not there," said Ngobese.

Thusi said: "We are saddened by the death of our child. As a department we have taken it as our responsibility to assist the family with all funeral arrangements."


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