Scoan email shatters family’s hope
Durban - The family of a Durban North business couple are shattered after finally receiving confirmation of their death in the Nigeria church guest house collapse.
Dickie and husband, Dennis Ngcobo, who founded the Ukuphila Wellness Centre, which treats people suffering from chronic illnesses and HIV/Aids, are among the 84 South Africans who perished in the collapse, church and SA government officials confirmed to the family at the weekend.
The September 12 tragedy in Lagos claimed a total of 86 lives.
The couple’s business partner and family spokesman, Praise God Mduduzi Mabaso
said the family had received e-mail confirmation from an official of TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations on Saturday.
A South African government official also phoned the family to confirm the deaths later that day.
Mabaso said the family was shattered after holding out for news for the past 10 days. “It has been a long wait.”
“You can imagine the long wait we had without a closure. We were anxious to know the truth. The past week has been difficult for family and friends,” Mabaso said.
Mabaso said the e-mail read
that the couple had been among those who had died.
“We were hoping for a different message, something like they survived and were taken to hospital. The children are taking strain. It is not easy for them,” Mabaso said.
He said the government had invited a family member to travel to Pretoria to identify the couple whose bodies were expected to be flown to the country on Monday.
Mabaso said the couple had travelled to Nigeria to pay homage and get blessings from charismatic pastor TB Joshua.
“It is not because they had problems, but they went there to get spiritual guidance. They admired his prophecies. They were financially sound and religiously okay,” Mabaso said.
He said the couple had been accompanied by another member of their church in Durban, the Kingdom Embassy International, who survived the collapse. “She had been there when the building collapsed but miraculously she survived.”
Mabaso said he himself had travelled to Lagos to visit TB Joshua’s church with his wife in August last year.
He said he was planning to go back early in January next year.
Mabaso said he felt the disaster was part of God’s plan and he would definitely be returning to Nigeria.
“You can lock yourself in a room and hire the whole of Durban as bodyguards but death would come to your doorstep,” he said.
Both Ngcobo and Mabaso had been serving at Kingdom Embassy International as elders.
The church has services on Sundays at Greyville Primary School opposite the Independent Newspapers building.
Apart from their wellness centre, the couple had been running a lucrative business, with 11 branches, selling a concoction of mixed herbal medicine to patients suffering from different illnesses.