Batswana Honour The 45 Fallen Pilgrims!

Date:

  • The 45 Batswana St Engenas ZCC members died in a horrific bus accident in South Africa
  • Many join national memorial   service in different areas across the country
  • The Maun community gathered at the main Kgotla for the service

Residents of Maun community yesterday (Thursday) joined other mourners across the country for the nationwide memorial service in honour of the 45 Batswana pilgrims who lost their lives in a tragic bus accident in South Africa’s Limpopo province before the Easter’s holidays.

The bus that was transporting members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) to Moria plunged off the Mma Matlakala bridge in the northern province of Limpopo on Thursday last week. The bus fell off more than 150 feet and caught fire as it hit the rocks below the bridge.

Treated as a national tragedy, government took the decision to hold the nationwide memorial service in recognition of the fact that the misfortune of losing 45 lives all at once in a single incident would have affected not only the families and relatives of the victims but the entire nation.

The service was watched in a live feed at the Maun main kgotla with the leadership coming from different department and offices, among them the Batawana Deputy Paramount Chief Kealetile Moremi, DiKgosi, Council Chairperson Itumeleng Kelebetseng, Deputy district Commissioner-Development Ramogaopi Gaborekwe as well as other government officials, ministers fraternal, political parties and various non-governmental organisations and the general public.

Addressing Batswana at the memorial service, President Mokgweetsi Masisi expressed heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and acknowledged the critical role played by the sole survivor, who bravely provided essential information to the police for the identification process. The president lauded the joint efforts of the South African and Botswana police forces for their meticulous work in identifying the bodies of the victims.

Furthermore, President Masisi encouraged Batswana and all Africans to stand together during times like this one, emphasised the importance of mutual support and compassion.

In closing, Masisi indicated that government has established a bereavement fund which will in future assist affected families during times of such tragic loss.

“The memory of these 45 lives lost will forever remain in the hearts of Batswana. Let us pray for their souls and extend our hands to those in need, reinforcing the bonds between our nations,” the president expressed.

Engenas Zion Christian Church (ZCC) representative, Helton Rampedi also took part at the memorial service in Gaborone on behalf of the church’s Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane. Reading Bishop Lekganyane’s message of condolence, Rampedi revealed that the church (ZCC) appreciates the collaborative efforts of Botswana and South Africa in handling this tragedy, indicating that the two respective heads of state, president Masisi and South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa were commended for their swift response and transparent cooperation.

An eight-year-old girl who was travelling with her grandmother was the only survivor of the devastating accident, and she has since been discharged from the hospital and sent back home alongside her mother.

South Africa’s Transport Minister Sindiswe Chikunga said the precise cause of the crash was still under thorough investigation.

Following the incident, messages of condolences from Botswana and further afield have been pouring in remembrance of the lost souls.

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