Goodbye, angels



June 27, 2016
Goodbye, angels

MASS MOURNING: About 5 000 attended the funeral proceedings. CREDIT: Jack Lestrade

Six Eastridge fire victims laid to rest.

Six children who died tragically in a fire at their home two weeks ago have been laid to rest.

Up to 5 000 mourners came to say their goodbyes at the funeral of the siblings and cousins, who perished in a blaze at their home in Macbeth Street, Eastridge, Mitchells Plain on June 11.

The little coffins were carried down the street, while children from the Western Province Marching Association put on a display.

Little Tamia Swartz, 22 months old, her siblings Cameron Fredericks, six, Elmarie Fredericks, five, and their cousins, siblings Nikita, three, Joshua, 13, and Kyle Abrahams, 18, had an emotional send-off on Saturday.

Two other persons, Tamia’s dad Alfonso “Fonkie” Swartz, 35, and their cousin Arafaat Madatt, 14, also died in the blaze, believed to have started due to an electrical fault.

Alfonso is expected to be buried on Saturday while Arafaat was laid to rest a day after the fire, according to Muslim rites.

For nearly two hours, relatives, neighbours and community members held a thanksgiving service in Macbeth Street.

Cameron and Elmarie had a separate service held at the New Apostolic Church in Eastridge.

Their coffins were later brought to Lentegeur Civic Centre where they joined the four others, and the congregation swelled to 5 000 people.

Tamia, Cameron and Elmarie’s mother, Gloria Abrahams, 31, who is five-months pregnant, collapsed in tears as she reached out, touching her children’s cream-coloured coffins.

She was consoled by her mother Verona Abrahams, 52, and sister Shanice Abrahams, 22, who also survived the fire.

Dad Patrick Abrahams, 54, who lost his three youngest children and three grandchildren, said it was clear that God had a message for him.

“God hit me so hard, I didn’t know which way. I don’t know what God is saying but I need to pick up my cross,” he said.

“Kyle was my right hand. Joshua, I heard, was praising and speaking about Jesus at school to his classmates.”

The group of young men who broke down a wall at the back of the house to help save the family, sang a hymn and lit candles on stage.

Rita Minnies told the Daily Voice they only informed her son Lance, 16, of the tragedy last week.

Lance had been visiting the family at the time and is still being treated in hospital.

“He said: ‘Mommy if I knew what was going to happen, I would have stayed away’,” Rita says.

Kyle, Joshua, Nikita and Tamia were laid to rest at Klip Road Cemetery in Grassy Park , while Elmarie and Cameron Fredericks will be cremated today.

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