Hero mother dies saving her two daughters

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By Doreen Mokgolo

Terrified and trapped in a blazing shack fire, Thobeka Godlwana died fighting to save her children’s lives in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The 47-year-old from Tsakani in Ekurhuleni, with the help of her neighbours, squeezed her daughters aged eight and 18 through a small window to safety. 

But she wasn’t so lucky.

She was trapped in the flames, trying to find an opening, when she succumbed to her injuries.  

It is believed that the fire started in the kitchen and spread across the three-roomed shack to the bedroom where the family was sleeping. 

They were woken by the eight-year-old who felt the increasing heat, but by then the bigger part of the shack was already ablaze.

Speaking to Scrolla.Africa, neighbour Nomsa Hlatswayo said they were woken by the piercing loud screams for help which were followed by whistles alerting the community to gather to help. 

“When I went outside to investigate, Thobeka’s shack was covered with flames. I punched the glass of the window and attempted to bend the steel burglar bars to force the children through. 

“We then battled with the bars and were able to cut the parts where she was able to push her two daughters.

“Unfortunately we were unable to save her. Together with the neighbours we tried to put out the fire with water to save her life but the flames were too harsh.” 

A family member, Bathabile Radebe, said they are still traumatised by the ordeal. 

“We are still trying to make sense of what happened and what could have started the fire as the oldest daughter said everything including the heater was switched off. 

“It is even heartbreaking that we almost lost the whole family in the fire,” she said. 

Tsakani police spokesperson Lebogang Ramaesa said they have opened an inquest into the matter. 

“The cause of the fire is unknown and investigations are underway,” he said.

Pictured above: Mourning family members of Thobeka Godlwana, left.

Source: Doreen Mokgolo


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