Deceased: Rachel Matibe (left) was an excellent student. Dakalo Mulima (right) has just graduated with an honours degree in actuarial science. Photos supplied.

Vhembe district mourns death of two bright students


The Vhembe district is mourning the tragic deaths of two excellent students from the University of the Witwatersrand who died during an accident on Sunday night.

Seven students died after a minibus they were travelling in crashed into the back of a stationary trailer that was on the road in the vicinity of the Nyl Plaza. The minibus reportedly burst into flames. Four students survived the tragedy and they were immediately rushed to hospital for medical attention.

Two of the students who lost their lives were Rachel Matibe (19) and Dakalo Mulima (23). A resident of Murunwa village in the Nzhelele area, Rachel passed her Grade 12 with seven distinctions and represented her school, Patrick Ramaano Secondary School, during the provincial awards in January this year. She went on to enrol to study medicine at Wits.

Rachel's uncle, Mr Jerome Matibe, said that the family and the community of Murunwa village had lost an asset in the person of Rachel. “She was our child, a bright star and a good soul,” he said. “She passed her Grade 12 with flying colours and put our family's surname on the map. We were still looking forward to seeing her achieve a lot of good things in life. Now there is nothing we can do – we are mourning her death.”

The Patrick Ramaano Secondary School wrote a short tribute to Rachel on their Facebook page, saying that her death came as a great loss to the school. “Our condolences go to the Matibe family,” said the school. “May God comfort you in these saddest hours. Your child really maximised her presence in our school with us. We are so sad to have come to know about her passing away.”

At the age of 23, Dakalo Mulima had obtained an honours degree in actuarial science in March. He made his village of Mulima proud and was an inspiration to the youth.

Dakalo's father, Mr Alpheus Mulima, spoke through tears and said that the family was really heartbroken. “We are failing to come to terms with his death,” he said. “His death is a tragedy which has sat heavily on our hearts.”

The representative of the Mulima Development Foundation (MDF), Mr Marumo Ralebona, described Dakalo as a torch bearer for academic excellence and one of the young people who were putting the Mulima community on the map.

“Dakalo had big dreams of championing youth-development issues,” Ralebona wrote. “He was undoubtedly a star in the making, a hero, a community builder, an activist but above all a future leader in our community. As we mourn his death, we must be constantly reminded of his selfless efforts to make our community a better one. We are proud to have been associated with this young giant.”

So far, the two families could not confirm any details about funeral arrangements since the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. They are awaiting DNA tests to be released.

There is a possibility of a third victim out of the seven deceased to have come from Vhembe, but the University of the Witwatersrand is unwilling to confirm that possibility at this stage.


Date:06 May 2016

By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.

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