One person is killed and 16 are injured

Kamva Mokoena

Kamva Mokoena

The community of KwaMzongwana in KwaZulu-Natal was in shock yesterday when one person died and 16 others were injured after being struck by lightning at a funeral on Sunday.

Esta Ndzimande was killed by the lightning strike in the rural village near Matatiele.

The injured, who sustained serious burns, were rushed to Matatiele Hospital. Six of them are in a serious condition, and 10 were discharged yesterday.

Hospital spokesman Nthabeleng Jafta said the condition of those in hospital was "very serious".

"They were burnt all over their bodies. The good news is that they are eating and talking."

Lustania Nguza said she was lucky to be alive. She was attending the funeral of local resident, Mdukuza Nophala, who himself died after being struck by lightning.

"While waiting for food, we saw burning charcoal flying in the house. The charcoal then burst into many smaller pieces.

"I don't know what happened next because when I woke up I was lying on the floor. Other people were lying on the ground outside the house," said Nguza.

Mayor Ntai Sello said the local municipality had supplied the victims with food and blankets.

Yesterday Miriam Mazindala, Abigail Mhlengi, Masina Faliteni, Lustlania Nguza, Engelina Zondo, Patience Mrhabula, Christina Memela, Christina Mjoli, Basosiba Mabuzini and Victoria Letsau said they were lucky to be alive.

They were still in shock and could not recall most of what had happened on Sunday.

Roselina Madolwa, Engelina Nophala, Mabase Mnyayiza, Madlamini Mbatha, Mavundla Netwa and Lucia Msikaba are in hospital.

l Two weeks ago a family of four died after lightning struck their home in Bizana. They were buried at the weekend.