"He died of a broken heart!" - Daily Sun

"Two months after Nigerian tragedy, the waiting killed Collen..." - front page lead, November 11 2014

Daily Sun (November 11 2014) - FOR two long months, Collen held on, hoping to say goodbye to his wife. But on Friday, he could wait no longer and gave up the earthly struggle. COLLEN HAS GONE TO MEET HIS WIFE IN HEAVEN.

His wife died in the building collapse in Nigeria when she went to atttend prayers at TB Joshua's Church of All Nations.

After more than two months the remains of the dead have still not been sent home by Nigerian authorities. During this time, Collen Mbatha (50), from Tladi in Soweto, and his family have been waiting for the body of 49-year-old Winnie Mbatha, Collen's wife, to come home so she can be buried.

Now the Mbatha family is facing the tragedy of Collen's death.

His mother, Eunice Mbatha (71), told Daily Sun her son became more and more depressed after they received the news of Winnie's death.

"He lost his appetite. He was hospitalised twice and doctors told us he was depressed," Eunice said.

"He was admitted to hospital on Friday and died later in the day."

She said Collen and Winnie were together for 27 years and had a son who is now in grade three.

"All he wanted was to say his last goodbye to his wife but he has been denied that."

When Collen's sister, Joyce Mokoena, (68) heard of her brother's death, she collapsed and is now in bed, also suffering from depression.

Eunice said it has been a tough time, as they waited for news of the body being repatriated.

"We don't know how many more months we will wait for Winnie's body to arrive in the country so we can bury Winnie and Collen together," said Eunice.

"We have been on the mourning mattress since Winnie's death and now we are mourning Collen's death. We don't know how much pain the family still has to endure."

Eunice's sister, Sinnah Kgomo (70) said Winnie was full of life and loved her family. "I am so heartbroken. She was my sister but also my friend."

Sinnah said since the building's collapse, people from TB Joshua's church have been to their home twice. "When Collen heard his wife's body would be returning in a plastic bag and we would not be allowed to view the body his health deteriorated. He didn't survive the trauma," she said.

She said the second time the church representatives came they brought some groceries but couldn't tell them any more news.

Sinnah said the South African government came once to take a DNA test. "But we have never heard from them again either."

The family said they are still hoping the two can be buried together.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe was flying to Nigeria yesterday to meet Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and other Nigerian officials.

See the Daily Sun mobi site for more on this and other stories....


The Daily Sun is South Africa's largest daily newspaper with an average circulation of 274 165 (Audit Bureau of Circulations 2nd Quarter 2014) and a readership of 5.7m (as per AMPS 2012ab). Its Facebook page can be accessed here. It can be followed on Twitter here. To find about advertising on the Daily Sun click here.

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