Mourners comfort relatives of seven Mafoko family who died in a shack fire in Reagile, Koster. Picture: ANA/Stringer

Koster - It was a sombre moment for residents of Reagile, Koster in North West on Wednesday.

Hundreds of residents gathered at the community hall to remember the seven family members who died in a shack fire.

Men bowed their heads, women sobbed and a family member overcome by emotions collapsed at the memorial service of the Mafoko family.

Boitumelo Mafoko, 48, Debogang Mafoko, 21, Boikanyo Mafoko, 19, Manga Mafoko, five, Mpopo Mafoko, three, Koketso Mafoko, two, and Sanga Mafoko four-months-old perished when their shack caught fire at Senthumule. The fire was, suspected to have been caused by a candle in the early hours of Saturday.

Teachers at MpheBana High School, described Boikanyo Mafoko, a Grade 9 learner as a shy but good pupil.

Class teacher Lorraine Makhele, told mourners that Boikanyo never caused trouble at school, except that he started missing classes in the first term of 2018 which resulted in low marks.

"I spoke to him about his low marks. He then promised to work hard. His hard work was visible on the second term result, he had greatly improved. I was with him in class last Friday. Boikanyo was not a troublesome child," she said.

School Governing Body (SGB) representative Johnny Bogosi said Reagile and the greater Koster have lost a future leader.

"We lost a future someone, in this tragedy and this has saddened us a lot. This child could have been a possible chartered accountant, a lawyer, a teacher or an engineer. Our future doctor passed on in this tragedy of a fire. This is something that no one can explain," he said.

Family representative Martha Dinake said the family was still coming to terms with the deaths.

Two boys aged seven and ten managed to dodge the imminent death. The seven-year-old slept over at a friend's home and the ten-year-old went to sleep at his grandparents home. They were left in the care of their grandparents

The funeral service would be held on Friday.

Two years ago, seven members of Mwale family perished when their shack was set alight also in Senthumule. A man torched the shack after his girlfriend ended their relationship.

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African News Agency (ANA)