Durban – A Pietermaritzburg family is still coming to terms with their son’s death after a retaining wall fell on him.
Earlier this month, Dontaé Naidoo, 7, was picking up litter around his home in Copesville when the neighbour’s retaining wall collapsed. The child died instantly.
Don Naidoo, the boy’s father, said: “I have four daughters and one son. Dontaé was my boy. He loved to clean outside. On the day of his death (June 9), he returned from school and asked me if I wanted juice. He had the biggest smile. I said ‘no, thank you my boy’. “After a while, he began to clean the yard. His younger sister wanted to help him, but he refused. They are normally as thick as thieves, so it was odd that he did not want her near him, but I never questioned it.”
He said after a while he heard a loud sound.
“I saw that the wall fell. I called for my children to ensure they were safe but Dontaé did not come. I knew he was under the wall. I dug the rubble and picked up my child’s lifeless body. I sat with him and spoke to him. He was not moving. I prayed and called out to God to save him. When the paramedics arrived, they pronounced him dead. I still don’t believe it.”
Naidoo said his son was humble and respectful.
“He always greeted people and loved talking to them.”
Naidoo said he and his wife were unemployed but they did not let their lack of finance impact raising their children.
“Dontaé wanted to be a pastor. He loved God and spoke the word of God. I was the man of the house, but he was the spiritual leader. The day before he passed away, he anointed our home with cooking oil to protect it and the family.”
Naidoo said Dontaé’s 40-day death ceremony would take place on his mother’s birthday next month.
“On Sunday, I celebrated Father’s Day but I missed my son. He was usually the first to wish me.”
Cookie Rajah, the neighbour whose wall collapsed, said: “He was a wonderful child. I have a tuckshop and every day he visited and greeted me. What happened has upset me. I have offered whatever help I could to his parents.”
Peru Govender, Dontaés school principal, said: “He came from extreme challenges, but he never allowed these to upset him or get the better of him. He believed that tomorrow would be better than today and he made the best of his situation. That’s something we must all learn to do.”
Zinhle Ntombela, Dontaé’s IsiZulu teacher, said: “When I last saw him, I asked him how he was feeling because he did not attend school the week before. He said he was fine with a smile. I could see he was excited to be back at school. Later that day, he told me he wanted to be a pastor. When I got to school the next day, I learnt of his death. We lost a gem.”