More misery for mourners
THE trauma suffered by family members of Siyabonga Gabela, one of the three KZN Sharks Board crew to tragically drown when their boat capsized, was compounded on Thursday after a no-show by officials at a planned memorial service. According to Siyabonga’s siblings, Muzi and Lungi Gabela, Sharks Board CEO Mthokozisi Radebe on Wednesday evening confirmed that the memorial, arranged by the Sharks Board for Thursday morning, would go ahead at the organisation’s building in Richards Bay. But on Thursday morning when the family arrived, the venue was locked and no one was there. ‘We were confused; we arrived in time for the 11am memorial for which some of us had driven from as far as Johannesburg and Port Shepstone - only to find the place vacant,’ said Lungi. ‘We had not even asked for this memorial service as we were having a funeral for Siyabonga at home in Melmoth, so when no one apart from us turned up, we felt we had wasted our time driving all this way.’ Echoing Lungi’s sentiments, her brother Muzi said the ordeal was extremely upsetting given the trauma already experienced by the family. ‘Losing our brother in the way we did was traumatic in itself and we are finding it difficult dealing with it, so to then experience this, has added to the grief we are already battling with,’ he said. With 30-odd family members who had travelled, and not knowing where to turn, Lungi contacted the Zululand Observer whose editor, Dave Savides, saved the day.
Family of Sharks Board drown victim left in the lurch
After a few telephone calls, he had arranged for Pastor Robert Mbuyazi to conduct a service at 1pm at the NG Kerk in Meerensee, where Ds Rupert de Koning responded without hesitation to a request for use of the venue. ‘We are so very grateful to Dave for arranging this,’ said Lungi. ‘Without him, this day would have been wasted when we had so many funeral arrangements to prepare for Saturday.’ The family held a vigil for Siyabonga on Friday night and the official family funeral at their Melmoth homestead on Saturday. Sharks Board staff in Durban confirmed that, although a memorial service had been arranged by the organisation, the family had been contacted at 6am on Thursday and were informed that the service had been postponed. However, Muzi, who was the nominated official family contact, said he had received no such call - and in any event, the cancellation came long after mourners were already on the road following Radebe’s confirmation on Wednesday evening. • After 10 days of being missing at sea, Siyabonga’s body was recovered last Saturday evening after being seen in the harbour entrance by a local fisherman. This allowed the family a measure of closure in being able to hold their burial service.
Muzi and Lungi Gabela are mourning the loss of their brother, Siyabonga, who drowned during the capsizing of the KZN Sharks Board boat earlier this month
Family of the late Siyabonga Gabela gathered for the memorial in Richards Bay