The death of a young Imizamo Yethu mother – one week before her 24th birthday – following a hit-and-run, has left her family and friends devastated.
When Amanda Ndibongo’s family said goodbye to her on Saturday afternoon, September 3 – on her way out to enjoy an evening with her friends – they could never have imagined that the next time they would see her, she would be critically injured and in a coma in Groote Schuur Hospital.
In the early hours of Sunday September 4, Ms Ndibongo, a fashion retail management graduate, and her friends, Yolanda Baliso, 23 and Amanda Gqetywa, 23, were making their way home from the Workshop Pub.
Speaking to the Sentinel at Ms Ndibongo’s home, Ms Baliso said they got into a taxi after leaving the pub.
The taxi was very full and two men were having an argument with one of the passengers. The taxi driver got annoyed with all the noise and stopped near the Shell Garage in Main Road, kicking them
and the two men out, claiming the taxi was too full.
The women continued down Main Road towards Berg en Dal with the two men while talking and telling jokes, Ms Baliso recalled
Ms Ndibongo had complained about being tired and wanted to flag down a taxi to take them home. She walked into the middle of the road with her one arm out, moving it up and down – a common signal used to flag a taxi.
“I told her to get out of the road as a car was coming, and the next moment I could just see her body twisting in the air, and then she landed on her back with a thud in the middle of the road,” said a visibly upset Ms Baliso.
She ran to Ms Ndibongo who was not moving.
“I checked for a pulse, but there was none, and she was not breathing. Everything was just silent,” she said.
Ms Gqetywa said she had been frozen from shock.
“I could not bring myself to go to her but called her name, but there was no response,” she said.
One of the men ran to Ms Ndibongo, picked her up and ran to the BP garage and asked one of the security guards to call the police.
Ms Baliso said the police and an ambulance had arrived soon afterwards and they made their way – with Ms Ndibongo – in the ambulance to Groote Schuur hospital.
“I was expecting the worst after seeing her face and feeling her pulse. I was devastated,” Ms Baliso said.
The two said they could not identify the car as it had not stopped or even slowed down after smashing into their friend, and they are not sure what happened to the two men who were walking with them after they left in the ambulance.
Ms Ndibongo died the following day, Monday September 5, from her injuries.
Breaking down, Ms Baliso said her friend had been in a happy place in her life.
“She was such a positive person and had so many plans for her future. She wanted to get her own apartment and was always telling us to live our lives for ourselves and not for other people,” she said.
Mhizana Ndibongo, was woken by a knock on her door at around 3am that morning by someone telling her that something had happened to her daughter.
“I was told that Amanda was in an accident and that she was taken to Groote Schuur Hospital. My mind was just blank, and I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
She immediately phoned her son, Frank, and told him to go to the hospital. She anxiously waited at home with Ms Ndibongo’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Anelitha.
Later that morning the hospital called asking her and the rest of the family to come to the hospital.
“I was shocked when I saw Amanda. I just cried and cried and could not get any words out. I was just praying that she would come back to us,” she said.
A close family friend, Carla De Lange, said Ms Ndibongo’s death had hit her family very hard. She has known the family for 18 years and Ms Ndibongo and her brothers, Frank and Henk, practically grew up in front if her. Henk is named after Ms De Lange’s elder brother.
On the morning of Ms Ndibongo’s death, Ms De Lange said she had asked a nurse at the hospital how she was doing.
“The nurse replied, ‘Not good,’ and I knew it was bad news. It was just the way she said it. Amanda was declared dead about an hour later, and I will never forget how her mother broke down. It never occurred to me that she might die,” she said.
And while the family is struggling to come to terms with the death of their loved one, the Hout Bay police are calling on the community to come forward should they have witnessed the incident or have any information about it.
Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch said a culpable homicide docket had been opened but no arrests had been made.
She said information had been followed up and a vehicle confiscated, but it could not be linked to the case.
However, a headlight cover had been found on the crime scene and would be forensically examined. Available video footage had been checked and all leads were being followed up. Anyone with information can call the Hout Bay police station at 021 791 8660.
Ms Ndibongo will be buried tomorrow, September 17, in the Eastern Cape.