Bongani Nqongophele’s wife was so distraught at news of his death that she tried to take her own life by drinking pesticide.
“His wife could not take the news. She is so weak right now. She tried to commit suicide,” said Nosipho Ntonga, Nqongophele’s sister-in-law.
His mother was so shocked she required medical care.
Bongani had been working as a driller at Lonmin for a year before his death. He grew up in a sparsely populated village near Elliotdale in the Eastern Cape. He married his wife, Nombulelo, in 2008, and the couple were reportedly devoted to each other.
“I would trade places with my brother-in-law in a heartbeat if I could,” said Nosipho. “He was very young and had so much he was looking forward to. My sister is at the doctor now because she is so weak. I don’t want her to find me in tears like this. I have to be strong for her,” she wept.
The 28-year-old father, husband and brother apparently had many plans for himself and his family.
“He had just started to build his own house down the road from our home. He was planning to buy a car and make a good life for his wife and child,” said Khanyisa Nqongophele, Bongani’s sister.
He had a five-year-old child, Anga.
When at home, Bongani loved nothing more than to play with the children and to tend to his father’s cattle.
“Every December the whole family would come home, I don’t know how it will be this year with our father gone and now our youngest brother. This is very painful,” said Khanyisa, who cried as she spoke. – Athandiwe Saba