The Ntshintshi family is distraught after an early morning fire claimed the lives of two children aged 4 and 9 in Taiwan informal settlement in Site C last weekend. Nosisi Ntshintshi, 43, lost her nine-year-old daughter and Aviwe Ntshintshi, 24, lost her four-year-old daughter. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.
The Ntshintshi family is distraught after an early morning fire claimed the lives of two children aged 4 and 9 in Taiwan informal settlement in Site C last weekend. Nosisi Ntshintshi, 43, lost her nine-year-old daughter and Aviwe Ntshintshi, 24, lost her four-year-old daughter. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

'They were each other’s best friends’: Family mourns children killed in Taiwan shack fire

By Asanda Sokanyile Time of article published Jan 16, 2021

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Cape Town - The pain and grief of losing her daughter and only granddaughter left Nosisa Ntshintshi, 43, in despair.

Sitting in her sister’s living room in Site C, Ntshintshi, overwhelmed with grief, spoke about the tragic morning when her home was engulfed by a fire which took the lives of nine-year-old Siwaphiwe and four-year-old Onikayo.

“The fire started in the middle of the night in the bedroom where I was sleeping with a neighbour’s six-month-old baby that I sometimes look after at night.

“The girls were in the other room with my other daughter who was the first to smell the fire and managed to get out of the house to seek help,” said the grieving woman.

Ntshintshi, who is now left with her three daughters, was diagnosed with Polio when she was 18 months old, she has since lost use of her legs and depends on crutches and the help of others to get about.

“When I heard my daughter screaming that there was a fire, I grabbed the baby and crawled out of the house with her.

“She is also injured and bruised because I had to drag and throw her out of the house to help escape the blaze.

“My right arm was burnt as well and we were both taken to the hospital.

“I didn't know that the girls were left behind and only found out that they died in the fire when I returned from the hospital,” said Ntshintshi.

The teary woman described the two little girls as playful, fun, loving and very friendly.

“They were each other's best friends, they were always together and they loved to dance.

“Siwaphiwe was also asthmatic but she never let that get her down, she always lit up the room and was always dancing,” she said as she played a video of the nine year old dancing.

Ntshintshi’s eldest daughter, Aviwe, 24, who is Onikayo’s mother, was not home that fateful night.

Unable to speak about their loss, all Aviwe could say was how much she will miss her baby.

“I am in pain, it hurts so much.

“I will miss her jovial spirit,” she said.

The family is at a loss and is not sure how they will bury the two children.

“We live off my disability grant as well as their child support grants, we are now faced with the burden of rebuilding our home and arranging the funeral for the girls while we also have to source funds to pay for DNA tests to be done before we are even able to get the bodies released to us,” said Ntshintshi.

Police spokesperson, Colonel André Traut confirmed the incident, adding that the cause is undetermined.

Weekend Argus

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