Tears flow at memorial service for four children killed in Alexandra shack fire
Pictures of the four children who died when their Alexandra home caught fire at the weekend were plastered on the walls of the Thusong Youth Centre in Alexandra on Wednesday ahead of a memorial service for them.
The children have been named as Amukelani Ngubeni‚ 2‚ Sandile Ngubeni‚ 4‚ Nhlanhla Ngubeni‚ 7 and Mbali Fihlani‚ 5.
A memorial service was held for the four children who died when their Alexandra home caught fire at the weekend. The service was held at Thusong Youth Centre on September 20 2018. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive
The centre was packed to capacity with locals‚ children from the Emfundisweni Primary School in their school uniforms as well as toddlers from the Ntokozweni Day Care Centre where the children attended school.
As proceedings got under way‚ two children from the primary school wept silently‚ wiping their eyes as a gospel tune was belted out by the mourners.
Tears streamed down their faces as the teachers took to the stage to sing a hymn in honour of their late pupils.
One by one‚ the distraught children were taken out of the hall.
A young boy who was seated with the family kept his headphones on as the proceedings got under way.
The youngster also bolted out of the hall as the distraught children were taken out of the hall.
A relative of the deceased children took to the podium to welcome people to the memorial service.
"God gives and He takes. God wanted us to meet and come together today‚ even as strangers‚" said Sisana Godoza.
"We don't know how this happened‚" she said of the tragedy.
"God did not rejoice in this but He called them home. He called them while they were still pure‚" she said.
Earlier on Wednesday‚ the Gauteng department of social development revealed how the children were trapped inside their burning home.
"The four children died in the early hours of Sunday morning in a two-roomed backroom with only one window that was too high for them to reach‚" said department spokesperson Mbangwa Xaba.
"Their 14-year-old brother and cousin who survived [were] locked in another room. They were locked inside the house by their mothers who went on a whole-night drinking spree. Neighbours tracked them to a shebeen where they were arrested‚" Xaba added.
The mothers of the two children‚ Nelisiwe Fihlani and Bongiwe Ngubeni‚ appeared in the Alexandra Magistrate's Court on Tuesday they face charges of child neglect.
Their bail application was postponed to next Friday.
The children are expected to be buried on Thursday.