The aunt of one of the victims of a KwaZulu-Natal taxi crash, which claimed the lives of three schoolgirls, says her family could not sleep the night after she was killed.
Had she not been among those killed in the accident, Tina Ngiba, would have turned 13 in April, Nokuthula Ngiba said on Wednesday.
The taxi driver, Siboniso Zwane, 33, is accused of skipping a red traffic light, killing the three Newlands East Secondary girls when they were on their way to school on Wednesday, March 6.
Their bodies were dragged for a distance before he allegedly fled.
He faces three counts of culpable homicide and was released on R3 000 bail on Wednesday in the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court.
'We never fell asleep that first night'
Speaking at a memorial for the girls at Newlands East Secondary School, Ngiba said young Tina's death struck her family hard.
"When we heard this news, we could not believe it. We never fell asleep that first night. We tried to, but we could not."
She said that her niece was a good, innocent young girl who firmly believed in God and loved creating hairstyles.
"Tina was a nice child. She was a Christian, she liked to go to church every Sunday. Her mother also get up and go (sic). She also liked to do people's hair. She actually did someone's hair halfway, but she never finished it, because she died the next day."
Ngiba added: "She was a very friendly child who was loved by churchgoers and neighbours alike."
The vibrant young girl was an excellent academic who could have been anything, she said.
"She loved school and was very bright. That's why we are saying we are lost. We thought that when she grew up she could be a mayor, a councillor, a lawyer."
Final times with Tina
Ngiba recalled how Tina had visited her unwell mother in hospital the night before.
"She jumped on her mum's bed, sat on her lap and took a picture. We brought something for her mother to eat. She fed Tina a little drummet like a baby."
Ngiba said she had only discovered the news of Tina's death the afternoon after the accident. She said that as a factory worker, she was not allowed to use her phone.
When she was on lunch break, she saw many missed calls from her sister. Having no airtime or anywhere to buy it from, she completed her work day and then tended to her messages.
"I was near Game City when I called her mother and then heard. It was a painful experience, but I just had a feeling something had happened.