‘Mommy please pray for me,’ son’s last words to mom before dying in horror crash

Nkosixolile Ngwenya died in a horror crash last week Friday.
Nkosixolile Ngwenya died in a horror crash last week Friday.
Image: Supplied by family

“Mommy I have to work because I have to look after my kids and help you. Mommy, it’s going to be okay, but please pray for me.”

These were the last words from Nkosixolile Ngwenya to his mother Thembelihle before he died in a horror crash on July 10.

A bakkie and the car Nkosixolile and his four co-workers were traveling in collided head-on on the R512 near Lanseria Airport. ER24 paramedics said all five occupants in the car, including Nkosixolile, were declared dead on the scene. A patient from the bakkie sustained serious injuries.

Thembelihle did not learn of her son's death until a day later.

The last time Thembelihle saw her 20-year-old son alive was on June 22. He had moved to Tembisa from Zimbabwe before President Cyril Ramaphosa implemented a nationwide lockdown. The move to SA was to provide for his partner and his two children – a two-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy.

Nkosixolile managed to find a job as a builder two weeks before he died.

“He sent me a voice note last week Monday [July 6] saying he found a job. But he didn’t feel comfortable with the job because he wakes up early in the morning and finishes at night.

“I told him to leave the work, but he told me that he needed the job to look after his kids and partner and also to care for me. He asked me to please keep him in my prayers,” Thembelihle told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

On the day of the accident, Nkosi, as he was known, and his colleagues were on their way to work.

“My cousin’s son was also with them, but they dropped him off somewhere else. The man that they were supposed to work for [later] phoned my cousin’s son to ask where Nkosi and the others were because they didn’t show up at work. He told them that he didn’t know because he was not with them any more,” Thembelihle said.

A bakkie and the car Nkosixolile and his four co-workers were travelling in collided head-on on the R512 near Lanseria Airport.
A bakkie and the car Nkosixolile and his four co-workers were travelling in collided head-on on the R512 near Lanseria Airport.
Image: ER24

She called him on the Friday evening, but his phone was off.

On Saturday morning, she received a call from her cousin to ask if she knew where her son was.

“I told her his phone is off and I couldn’t get hold of him.

“She phoned my brother and told him that my son was in an accident and has died and she didn’t know how to tell me because it seemed like I didn’t know about it.”

She said her brother went to the Brits police station and asked whether Nkosi survived, but police told him that there we no survivors.

The family was directed to the Brits government mortuary. Thembelihle said she identified her son’s body on Tuesday morning.

“It’s very difficult. I still can’t believe it. He was a very good boy, friendly, quiet and always smiling. He was a loving daddy to his kids and wife. He had a good heart and was very respectful.

“His wife is just crying over the phone. We are now trying to raise funds to bury him back at home,” in Zimbabwe.

So far the family has raised R4,000 of their own for the transportation of the body and the burial.

Thembelihle’s employer, Genevieve Traill, who has been helping the family raise funds for the funeral, said they met three years ago. She started working for the family once a week, but during the lockdown Thembelihle has been helping them with full-time child care, Traill said.

“She and my son have such a special bond. She is just the sweetest and kindest person I know. She has always shared many stories of her two sons and how proud she was to be a grandmother.

“I woke up on Saturday morning to two 'please call me’s' from Thembe and a frantic WhatsApp to get in touch. I will never forget the sound of pain in her voice when she told me the news and my heart just broke for her.

“I knew as her friend and full-time employer I had to do something, but as with most families in the country, Covid-19 has hit us hard financially, and that’s why I started a funding page to get Nkosi home to be laid to rest,” Traill told TimesLIVE.

By Wednesday morning the GoGetFunding page had raised R8,200.


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