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Heartfelt tribute for Katlehong shack fire victims

The learners were traumatised because KPS buried a learner two weeks ago, and today, they buried another learner.

Emotions ran high when learners, teachers and grieving family members and relatives said their final goodbyes at the memorial service for the four minors who died in a shack fire.

The memorial service was co-hosted by Katlehong Primary School and Thabang Primary School at Assemblies of God Church, located at Sunrise, Katlehong, on June 22. Tears of sorrow ran down the cheeks of the family members and friends of the deceased.

Trauma and pain were evident on the faces of learners who attended the service to pay their last tributes to their late schoolmates.

Philile Njozela (10), Lilitha Njozela (seven), Ayabonga Njozela (five) and Nqobile Njozela (three) died on the night of June 17 after their home burnt to the ground.

Philile’s best friend, Tanya Chiwutura (11) from Katlehong Primary School (KPS), said she would miss her friend, noting she had lost someone with whom she shared everything.

“We shared a desk, and now that seat will be empty because my friend is gone. We used to play and eat together, now I am left alone,” said Chiwutura.

Philile’s teacher, Lulama Masoeu, said she was a calm, clever student with good listening skills.

She said Philile joined KPS in February, and on her first day, the HoD instructed her to fetch her stationery before leaving school.

“Despite teachers changing classes during the day, she made sure she fetched me at the Grade Six class to remind me she had not received her books. That tells you she loved school, loved studying, and was committed,” said Masoeu.

Grade R teacher Zanele Zulu said she had the privilege of teaching Lilitha and Ayabonga. She described them as joyful and full of life.

The principal of KPS, Ben Sidwaba, said the school was hurting, and their wounds had worsened.

He said the learners were traumatised because the school had buried a learner two weeks ago, and now they were burying others.

He encouraged parents to love and care for their children.

Touched by the efforts made by the two schools to comfort the family and mourners, the uncle of the late siblings, Mike Lunika, said the family was happy with how the two schools had handled the memorial service.
He said it eased their suffering and pain as a family.

“We hope they will not only do this for our family but even for other children who might find themselves in a similar situation,” said Lunika.

Grade R teachers and learners from Thabang Primary School paid their last respects.
Mosawonke Luvuno and Tisetso Motseka.
Ward 47 Clr Thandi Nkosi.
Katlehong Primary School learners.
Philile Njozela’s teacher, Lulama Masoeu.
Family members during the memorial service. Vuyisile Lunika, Bulelwa, Busisiwe and Nomahlubi Njozela.
Thabang Primary School teachers, learners and Lilitha’s classmates.

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