School was still a day away, but nine-year-old Chatsworth schoolgirl Tashnee Singh loved her brand-new uniform so much – the first new one she’d ever been given – that she couldn’t stop looking at it.
The Grade 4 pupil had repeatedly taken the dress out of the wardrobe in her grandmother’s bedroom.
When she returned the uniform after one last look on Tuesday, the day before school, she lost her balance and went crashing through the mirror that fronted the wardrobe.
The broken mirror severed major arteries on her chest and right shoulder, and although a neighbour rushed the bleeding girl and her grandmother, Violet Pillay, to the nearby RK Khan Hospital, Tashnee was declared dead on arrival.
“She lost too much blood… Our girl lost too much blood,” wept Pillay.
Pillay said she was sitting in the lounge of their small house in Westcliffe, Chatsworth, when she heard screams coming from her bedroom.
“Tashnee and her sister Terisha (14) were in the room at the time. The older girl became hysterical when she saw the blood.
“When I looked at Tashnee, I noticed chunks of flesh were hanging around her shoulder area.
“I didn’t know what to do to stem the flow of blood. I was scared I’d aggravate her injuries if I touched her,” said the grandmother.
Pillay’s brother, Foster, who was at the house at the time, wrapped the injured youngster in a blanket, and Tashnee was rushed to hospital.
“When the medical staff closed the doors to the treatment room, I knew Tashnee wouldn’t make it – she lost too much blood,” said Pillay.
“Her death has devastated me. I cared so much for her. I am forced to accept that nothing I do will ever bring her back.
“For the first time, I managed to afford all her stationery and new uniform at the start of a school year, and this really excited her.
“Every day Tashnee would look at her stationery and uniform. That morning Tashnee was her usual cheerful self, and spoke happily about school that was to start the next day. But she never made it back to school,” said the weeping grandmother.
Tashnee was cremated at the Mobeni Heights Cemetery on Thursday. Members of the community, friends and family rallied round to cover the costs of the ceremony.
But some community members questioned why the grandmother hadn’t kept a closer eye the girl.
“It hurts a lot to hear people speculating about what happened when they don’t know the facts,” Pillay said. “The incident happened so quickly. It is impossible for me to keep up with every movement of the child. I had 18 grandchildren.
“Each of them were in my care at some point, and there’s never been any incident.
“Tashnee’s parents are destitute. Five years ago they asked me to care for their daughters. I’ve always done my best for the two girls,” she said. - The Sunday Tribune