Nigerian church collapse survivors mark 1 year since tragedy

Survivors and families of those who died will gather in Midrand to observe the one year anniversary.

FILE: Families and friends of 22 victims from Johannesburg who died in the Nigeria church collapse over two months ago have played tribute to their loved ones in moving ceremony on 20 November 2014. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Synagogue Church of All Nations together with the survivors and families of those who died in last year's guesthouse collapse will gather in Midrand this morning to commemorate the one year anniversary of the tragedy.

Today marks exactly one year since 116 people died, most of them South Africans, when the Synagogue Church of All Nations Guesthouse caved in.

The church remains adamant it played no role in the deaths of more than a hundred people, most of them South Africans, when the building, belonging to pastor TB Joshua caved in.

Lindiwe Ndwandwe survived by drinking her own urine while trapped under a pile of rubble for five.

She will be attending today's ceremony to remember her friends who died exactly a year ago today.

Ndwandwe says those who survived have now formed a support group and still find it difficult to come to terms with the trauma.

"We've been contacting them, visiting each other, now even made a group of WhatsApp as survivors to keep on checking each and every morning, how are you, are you coping. Have you overcome those stresses?

Survivors have called on the church to preserve the site where the building collapsed, so they can revisit the area with families in the future.

The church still believes a plane which flew close to the building prior to the collapse, caused the tragedy.

She says one year later she still has nightmares.

"When I am in a building I feel the shakes, I hear the sound, and it just comes back automatically."

Ndwandwe says she still supports Pastor TB Joshua, who insists the building collapse at his premises was caused by a passing plane.

She says his critics are being unfair.

Ndwandwe says she wants to take her daughter back to the site of the collapsed guesthouse next year.

"I would love for the synagogue church to keep the place as it is, so that when we go, we can see the place where it happened."