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Answers sought after only child’s death

Durban -

Four months after her daughter died from injuries suffered when a bus crashed after returning from the reed dance, a mother is still battling to come to terms with her loss and demanding answers about the investigation into the man who was driving.

Bathabile Sithole of Mtwalume in Hibberdene pulls weeds from the grave of her only daughter who died of her injuries a month after a reed dance bus crash near Melmoth last year. The distraught mother awaits answers. Picture: SIYANDA MAYEZA. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

“I am hurting after losing my only child. I need to know what happened and nobody bothers to tell us what is happening with the case.

“It feels like (the) wheels of justice grind slowly when one is not prominent, or from a rural area like me.

“It also feels weird that nobody has been questioned about the accident,” said Bathabile Sithole, 45.

She told the Daily News last week that not a day passes without her missing Ntokozo Sithole, 22.

Ntokozo, from Mtwalume, was returning home from the reed dance in Nongoma on September 1 when the bus transporting her and other maidens from the South Coast overturned on the R66 near Melmoth.

Eight young women and two minders died in the accident or shortly afterwards, while Ntokozo was among the seriously injured.

She was taken to Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni before being transferred to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital where she had shown signs of recovery.

Two weeks after being moved to the Durban hospital she was removed from ICU and regained her speech.

“Her first question was ‘where am I?’ I expected that was because she had never been hospitalised before.

“She then asked about details of her injuries. I tried to downplay it by telling her it was nothing serious, just bruises of her legs. She wanted to check her injuries but could not because she was bed-ridden.”

Bathabile said her daughter had slowly begun to remember details of the crash.

She told how she had shouted for help, trapped under the bus, before falling unconscious.

Ntokozo died about a month after the accident.

Sithole told the Daily News she felt lonely without her daughter around the house.

Ntokozo had wanted to keep her virginity as a sign of respect to her father, even after he died seven years ago.

“She had never missed a reed dance since 2007. She had been passionate about it.

“Her mental state had never recovered since her father’s passing. She repeated every grade until her untimely death.”

The Zulu royal household donated a tombstone and a cow for Ntokozo’s funeral.

“I console myself by cleaning her tombstone and reading the Bible,” said Sithole.

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