Among those killed were the church society steward and three women. The injured included the church minister, his daughter, and an evangelist.
The church’s circuit secretary, Nomgcobo Ncoko, said: “It was a disaster and a miracle. I thought it was judgment day. I saw a strong and fearsome bolt of blue lightning and a ball of fire striking where the society church steward was sitting.
In series of bizarre firsts:
The sermon was the first to be delivered to the seven societies falling under the circuit he now leads; and
lThe church hall was new and the sermon was the first to be delivered in the building.
Reverend Zanoxolo Ngcephe said that at 2.30pm, shortly after he had delivered his sermon, they noticed a big storm coming.
The electricity went off and the candles went out.
“As we talked we heard a big bang and I felt burning sensation in my feet.
“The church was filled with smoke and all the congregants, about 50 of them, had been flung across the floor.
He rushed outside the church to get help.
“I waved down passing cars and another priest from the Anglican church and villagers assisted us.
He was worried about how the families of the bereaved would bury their loved ones as they had no income and struggled to make ends meet.