'The pain is unbearable' - family member weeps as boat tragedy victim is laid to rest

Nhlonipho Mnguni and his wife Gwen posed for this picture before she died in the fire that broke out on a cruise at the weekend. Picture: Supplied
Nhlonipho Mnguni and his wife Gwen posed for this picture before she died in the fire that broke out on a cruise at the weekend. Picture: Supplied

A SOBBING Phindile Ndobela could not contain her emotions as she spoke during the funeral service of her sister who died in the tragic Hartbeespoort Dam boat accident last week.

"The pain is piercing. I am in unbearable pain. Life without you seems impossible, but it goes on.

"I have to help raise your children ... It hurts Gwen, it hurts. I always wanted God to take us together so that none of us should endure the pain," said Ndobela.

Four women, including Ndobela's sister Gwen Mnguni, 33, died after the cruise boat Prime Time caught fire just before 2pm in North West last Saturday.

Mnguni from Diepkloof in Soweto, was celebrating her fifth wedding anniversary with her husband Nhlonipho, 37, when the tragedy struck. They have three children aged 17-months-old, seven and 12 years. Mnguni died of smoke inhalation while she was trapped in the ferry's toilet.

During the emotional funeral service at Calgro Memorial Park in Nasrec, south Johannesburg, speakers told of how Mnguni was always "preaching about love".

African Union head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also attended the funeral.

Speaking on behalf of Mnguni's brothers-in-law, Trevor Ndobela said their sister-in-law was a peacemaker and loving person.

Two of the other three victims were also buried at the weekend at the event organised by Boaters World Adventures. The trio died when a small overloaded boat capsized during the rescue operation.

Roselyn Molepi, 36, and her best friend Portia Gumede, 36, both worked at Tiger Brands.

Molepi of Popcorn Valley in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni, was buried at the New Boksburg Cemetery on Saturday while Gumede of Dlamini, Soweto, was buried at Avalon Cemetery yesterday.

Investigations into the boat accident were continuing with the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) probing what caused the fire believed to have started in the rear of the boat where the kitchen, bathrooms and engines were situated.

Samsa said the boat was certified to carry 200 passengers and three staff members.

mashabas@sowetan.co.za

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