The inconsolable sobs of a young mother echoed through Mzamomhle’s G-section informal settlement as she battled to accept her “playful” eight-month-old baby boy had died at his creche.
Ovayo Skepu’s son, little Kungawo, was declared dead yesterday by paramedics at Unako Creche in East London.
The creche is a three-room shack that caters for 23 children between zero and five years.
According to the creche owner, Ntobencici Mkhobeli, Kungawo had fever symptoms including a high temperature and blocked nose and died in his sleep at around mid-morning.
“When his father brought him in the morning we could see the baby was not well.
“He fell asleep immediately and when one of the teachers at the school went to wake him up for a feed he was not moving,” said Mkhobeli.
The teacher, Nokwethu Mjamba, said she tried to wake him up but he was not breathing.
“I shook him numerous times to try and wake him up when I realised he was not moving. I cried out for help and went to the neighbour’s shack, the neighbour came and confirmed that the baby was no more,” said a weeping Mjamba.
Mkhobeli said she was at a community gathering when she was alerted to the incident.
“I ran to the [Kungawo’s] grandfather’s house to inform him. The family then tried to reach the mother who was at work,” she said.
When the the Dispatch arrived at the creche around 1pm, there was a police van and community members had gathered outside. Kungawo’s tiny body was lying on a mattress on the floor where he had died.
Kungawo’s father, Sandile Mcwakubana, was crouched on the floor as he waited for his wife to arrive from work. “He was our first child. I am not well and I don’t think his mother will be well,” he said.
Contrary to what the creche owner said, Mcwakubana said his son did not show any signs of being ill.
“He was playful when I brought him here this morning, he did not seem ill at all. That makes it even harder for me to accept his death,” he said.
A while later Skepu finally arrived, so paralysed by pain she could barely walk. At the time, paramedics and forensics had arrived and the baby was officially declared dead.
Skepu refused to go into the room where her son’s body was lying.
When she eventually gathered the strength, she screamed out his name and begged him to wake up.
“Vuka Kungawo, vuka [Wake up Kungawo, wake up],” she screamed before letting out a loud wail. —firstname.lastname@example.org