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Mlondi's death a cruel reminder of our disregard for gift of life

15 October 2017 - 00:00 By BARENG-BATHO KORTJAAS

Spare a thought for Maritzburg United players, who have been dealt the hand of death twice in a mere 21 months.
Mlondi Dlamini was an up-and-coming starlet brimming with promise before he met his death - aged just 20 - when the driver of the car he was travelling in from Durban to Pietermaritzburg lost control of it near Cato Ridge last week Sunday.
Dlamini is the second United midfield player to lose his life in a car crash. In January 2016, Mondli Cele died on arrival in hospital after the car he was driving had ditched into the Umsunduzi River.
A few hours earlier Cele had played the most memorable match of his life, a thrilling 3-3 draw against Orlando Pirates, one of the best matches in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Cele and Dlamini have reunited in the afterlife.
"A lot of the players were having this experience for the second time. It was more shock than anything else when we gave them the news on Monday," United general manager Quintin Jettoo told me, adding, "we had a psychologist come in on Wednesday."What triggers a waterfall of tears down my cheeks, what dims my zest for life is the grim fact that Dlamini's name enters a roll call of footballers who have perished on South African roads in their 20s: Ntuthuko Hadebe (22), Mondli Cele (26), Cecil Lolo (27), Gift Leremi (22) and Lesley Manyathela (21). Not that the lives of Jan Sillo (32) and Richard Henyekane (31), who also met their demise in road accidents, mattered little. I'm no lay preacher but my brothers and sisters, there is something wrong with the fast life on the football lane.
This is no sermon, but my people, there are no lessons to be learnt from a myriad of examples stemming from a common golden thread: road deaths.
Tell me if I'm lying when I declare that it's a problem not mutually exclusive to footballers. Ridiculously, road carnage is a national pastime in this country.
We wantonly slaughter each other during the Easter and December holidays. We think little of waving goodbye to children stuffed like sardines in an unroadworthy, rickety jalopy.Ditto taxis and buses that zig-zag across lanes in a lawless, mad rush to the grave. This is a reflection of our callous disregard for the precious gift of life.
This is a lamentation for the general state of lawlessness in our country today.
If we as a society in general and our footballers in particular, don't change our ways, the Grim Reaper will guillotine more lives on our roads.
Dlamini, whose body was deposited into his grave at the Mpophomeni Cemetery yesterday, left his father and elder brother as his survivors. No psychologist or Arrive Alive campaign will bring change. A change of our behaviour will.
Twitter: @bbkunplugged99

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