DURBAN - Brothers Danie, 22, and Freddy van den Heever , 21, are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives after they lost their mother, sister and grandmother in a mudslide at their home on Bealings Road in Northdene in the south of Durban, during the devastating floods that swept across KZN leaving a trail of death and destruction last week.
In a video posted two days after the floods hit Durban on April 12, Danie is seen pointing to the area where his home used to stand which is now covered in mud and fallen trees.
On either side are the remnants of his neighbours’ houses which were severely damaged but not completely flattened during the mudslide
In the video, Danie said they lost his mom Marinda, 52, sister Mariché, 10, and grandmother Hester, who was in her seventies.
“Me and my brother spent the better half of yesterday (April 12) fishing out my mum, my sister and my gran’s corpses to be able to identify them.
“This is the face of a man that has no direction whatsoever, I don’t even have a house anymore. I lost everything,” he said.
The circumstances could have been much different had Danie not been staying at his girlfriend’s place while his brother was working night shift on that tragic day.
A friend of the family, Dora Miles, wrote to Good Morning Angels, which is an initiative of Jacaranda FM that assists people in need, on behalf of the brothers.
Describing the events that occurred after the mudslide, Miles said when Freddy drove home after work, he was unable to drive to the house because the road was completely blocked by debris.
She said he got out of his vehicle and walked to where their home used to be, but it was gone.
Freddy called his brother Danie and they both joined members of the community and rescuers to look for their missing family members.
“They found their mom’s body on the other side of the river … their gran and little sisters’ bodies were found about a kilometre further down the river,” said Miles.
Danie said they found parts of their home near the river and that they recognised bathroom tiles as well as their mom’s dining room table.
Speaking to The Mercury today, Danie said his brother has not completely taken in what has happened, while he is mostly operating on autopilot.
“It is difficult to say but as soon as it happened my mind and my body was just like okay what is the next thing to do. It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I lost my family members,” he said.
With no other family in KZN, the brothers were taken in by Danie’s girlfriend’s parents.
Danie said the situation is not ideal as his girlfriend’s parents need to feed eight people.
He said they are trying to help out as much as possible.
Danie further described how he and his brother had to run around last week trying to piece together documents in order to arrange for funerals for his family.
The Naked Insurance company has donated R50000 to Danie and Freddy from the Naked Difference Fund to bury their family members and to assist with essentials like clothing and food.
The ceremonies for Marinda, Mariché and Hester will be held on April 29.