Heartbroken Gogo Khonzephi Makhoba watched helplessly as her granddaughter was swept away by the overflowing Umfolozi River.
She told Scrolla.Africa she is still haunted by the screams of the three-year-old Asanda who drowned. The gogo from Ceza, northern KZN said she is unable to sleep at night.
“I blame myself for what happened. I can’t sleep at night. I hear my granddaughter crying for her help as I lose grip on her tiny wrist. I will never forgive myself for this,” said the gogo.
She said she had her granddaughter on her chest when she entered the river to go to a village on the other side.
Waist-deep, she staggered and slipped mid-river, and plunged under the water.
“I held on to her wrist. But it was slippery and the current got bigger and more powerful,” she said.
“I couldn’t hold her any more, and she slipped out of my hands. I can still see her face and hear her screams.”
Gogo fought her way out of the raging river and called for help but it was too late.
She said residents are used to crossing the river when it is overflowing.
“It would’ve been better if both of us were swept away. The pain of losing my granddaughter is unbearable.”
Three days of searching have yielded no results, and now Makhoba’s hopes of finding her granddaughter alive were dashed.
“My grandchild must be dead by now. No one can survive in the water for so many days,” she said.
Asanda’s aunt, Nomzamo Makhoba, said everyone in the house and the village loved playing with her niece.
“It is painful for the family,” she said.
“We want the body to be retrieved so we can bury her with dignity. We can’t move on with our lives without finding the body.”
Provincial police confirmed the incident, saying the search for the missing child was underway.