‘I didn’t see the signs’
A month after his sister Vathiswa Madikiza’s death, Thanduxolo Doro wishes he had seen the omens – which he now believes were everywhere.
“God speaks, quietly, but he speaks. And sometimes we don’t listen,” he says as he reflects on the events that led to his sister’s fateful trip to TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos.
Madikiza, a high school teacher and mother of one, had planned to travel to Nigeria in August, but had to postpone her trip after she had lost her passport.
Before she left, she took photographs of all her loved ones – so her family could be with her on her pilgrimage.
On their way to the airport on September 11, Madikiza (40) repeatedly thanked Doro for his help. She did so again at the airport and seemed reluctant to go.
She also sent an SMS from the plane thanking him again.
In the last conversation with Madikiza on September 12, mere minutes before the building collapse, she “sounded sombre”, different to her earlier self.
But although her delayed trip led to her untimely death, in hindsight Doro, who lives in Johannesburg, says the postponement was an unexpected gift: a chance to reconnect with his younger sister who lived in the Eastern Cape.
When Doro learnt about the guesthouse collapse, he rushed to the airport “hoping she was one of the survivors”. He tried to call her, all to no avail.
Since then, it has been an agonising wait – for answers and to lay Madikiza to rest. While confusion surrounds the repatriation of his sister’s body and the cause of the building collapse, Doro says the victims deserve justice.
“We want TB Joshua to be held accountable,” he says.
Madikiza’s death is taking a toll on the family – their mother has since taken ill. To make amends, Joshua has sent evangelists to deliver payouts and food.
“They gave us R5 000. But when they saw my mother was not well, they returned and left an additional R2 000.”