Durban Floods | Community helps 10-year-old after the ‘unspeakable’ loss of her entire family

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On Tuesday, 12 April 2022, during the torrential rains and flooding that devastated the most part of KwaZulu-Natal, Shakirah, a young girl, aged 10, had her entire world ripped from her, in the most unspeakable and unutterable manner.

During the early hours of the morning, at about 04:00, at their home near the Palmiet Nature Reserve in Westville, Haji, aged 34, his wife Halima, aged 29, and their 10 month old baby, Kevin, died in a horrific mudslide, when the bank and retaining wall behind their home collapsed, destroying their home, and claiming their lives. 

Miraculously, their 10 year old daughter, Shakirah survived.

The bodies of Haji, Halima and Kevin were only recovered more than 12 hours later at approximately 17:00, after the Malawian community came together to physically dig, not stopping until they were found. 

Haji was retrieved first, under more than 2 metres of mud, thereafter Kevin, and then Halima. 

Shakirah lost not only every little possession she ever owned, but everything and everyone close to her heart. Her entire world has been taken from her, in the most treacherous circumstances. Shakirah has been forced to face life without the only people who have always been there for her, loved her and cared for her. 

Shakirah has shown utter bravery during the past few days, despite her complete heartache, and has been kept safe and homed by many of us. Her future and where she will end up, is at this stage uncertain.

We, as the families that Haji and Halima not only worked for, but whose lives were touched by them, are absolutely devastated by their deaths. The loss is deeply felt by us, and throughout our homes. Haji and Halima, became a part of our families. They genuinely cared for us, and would do anything to make our lives easier. 

Standing in for Shakirah

To support Shakirah’s future, and take care of her  imminent needs such as clothing, school supplies, toiletries, a cell phone and the day to day basics, Jason and Vanessa Norris, Mark & Megan Sponneck, Mildred Moore (Busybee Daycare), Lenard and Lauren Hall, and Mechell Chetty have launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy.

No task was ever too much for them . We are utterly heartbroken by this tragedy.  They were the most incredible family. Honest, kind and loyal. Their passing has left a huge hole in our hearts and daily lives.

Shakirah’s family home was destroyed in the Durban Floods

Since the launch of the campaign, 212 donors have contributed more than R300 000 to support Shakirah as she comes to terms with the life-changing tragedy she has experienced.

All funds raised will be administered by a Trust, in order to fund Shakirah’s day to day needs and education. 

We know that Haji and Halima would be so appreciative of any act of kindness, no matter how big or small. As Shakirah slowly starts to pick up the pieces of her life which has forever been changed, we hope to help her in whatever way we can to ease her financial burdens and to provide for her future, as her parents had previously done.

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