4 Perish After A Wall Collapses During Lobola Negotiation Ceremony


Four people were killed in South Africa’s Limpopo Province on Saturday when a wall collapsed on guests during a lobola ceremony in GaChuene Thokgwaneng.

South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said the police in Lebowakgomo have opened an inquest docket and had identified the deceased as Tiisetso Bushy Macheka, 36, Lesego Ribisi of Hwelereng village, 18, Phinias Maripane Kganyago of Gamashashane and Samson Sambo, who died at Lebowakgomo hospital.

Family spokesperson and brother to the bride, Phinias Yika said they were still in shock following the incident. He said:

As the Yika family, we are still in shock about what happened on Saturday. It was supposed to be a celebration day as they were paying a bride price for my sister … it was a lobola negotiation ceremony.

Reports indicate that people attending the ceremony were seated in a tent that was positioned next to an unroofed building when strong winds blew.

The wall collapsed, killing three instantly and injuring several others. One of the injured later died in hospital.

Yika said the incident happened quickly. It was at about 5 pm when the wind started picking up. He said the tent was not hinged to the wall. Said Yika:

It was 1.5m or 2m away from the wall. The wind was so strong and collapsed the wall. It fell on top of the tent while people were inside. It happened so fast.

After a few minutes, there was dust and we couldn’t see what happened, but we knew that there were people inside [the tent].

After getting a clear view of what happened, that is when we saw that there were people trapped inside and we tried to remove them.

Yika said the bride and her in-laws had already left when the incident occurred. He added:

For the lobola negotiations, we finished early, from about 12 pm to 1 pm. The in-laws said they were going to fetch their bride at about 5 pm.

Immediately after they left, the disaster started. They had already left with their bride and most of the people had left to accompany the bride.

The few who were remaining and were involved in the incident were the ones who were left behind.

Yika said it was not uncommon for roads in the area to be damaged and roofs to be blown away during windy and rainy weather.

Limpopo social development MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale sent her condolences to the families of the victims.

Department spokesperson Witness Tiva said a team of social workers had been deployed to provide psychosocial support to the families and other affected parties.

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