Fire agony for widowed mom

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Four children died when their hut was destroyed by a fire in Nongoma, northern Zululand.

The Ximba sisters, Sbongile, 11, Nomvula, 8, Busisiwe, 7, and S'buko, 6, were sleeping when the hut caught fire.

It is suspected that a candle started the fire.

Zululand district municipality mayor, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, said the Ximba family used the hut to cook and sleep in. She said the children had probably forgotten to extinguish the candle and fallen sleep.

"The hut was destroyed and everything in it was burnt to ashes. The children might have fallen asleep while studying."

"We are horrified by the situation. We have been forced to provide the family with tents because they are so poor. Also, everything that they had in the hut is now in ashes," said Magwaza-Msibi.

She said her municipality would cover the burial costs.

"The widowed mother is currently receiving counselling because of trauma and we will carry all the costs."

The children will be buried on Thursday, she said.

Local mayor Vusi Mabika described the situation as heartbreaking.

He said the incident occurred just hours before the burial of an 80-year-old grandmother who burnt to death with her two grandchildren last week.

"S'buko was doing Grade R and you can only imagine the pain their mother went through when her husband died last year. It is even worse," said Mabika.