Khathuatshelo Ramovha was trapped for 13 hours awaiting rescue. He was underneath the table when the building collapsed and he says it protected him from the falling rubble, which would otherwise have killed him. At least 80 people were killed.
“People were crying, people were praying, people were screaming… I was not feeling anything,” he said.
The South African was at the hostel because he is a follower of the Nigerian TV evangelist TB Joshua, who had organised a meeting in Lagos. He has arrived back home in South Africa after witnessing the hostel collapse and told the BBC what he saw.
“It was very dark, people were screaming, people were crying, they were shouting: ‘My head’ ‘my leg’. After some time, some stopped screaming,” he said.
The 28-year-old said he heard a strange hissing sound just after sitting down for lunch in the dining hall last Friday. He managed to hide under a table as the building came down.
Immediately when I want to start to eat, I just felt like something like a blast on the wall. I can’t explain what it is. It made a small sound; something like a wired bomb, so quick and the building was coming down. So I lost my consciousness. After probably 30 minutes or about an hour I woke up. When I woke up, I saw rubbles, so dark, no oxygen, nothing. People were screaming, people were praying, people were crying; my leg, my head. I was not feeling any pain. I was under the table for hours which my food was on top before the incident. I was under that table. Surely it is that table that saved me because when the rubble came down, it touched that table and I was under it. Probably if it touches me first, it will crush me.
Mr Ramovha said it was terrifying, but part of God’s plan. He said that earlier on Friday, one of the church preachers had appeared to warn worshippers:
“He kept saying: ‘Uncommon blessing attract uncommon challenges. Be ready for any activity, any danger.’ It was like he was encouraging us to be strong.”
On how he was rescued, he says:
I heard a very loud sound that broke the rubbles. They were able to get inside. When they take it out they scream; are there people there. We said yes we are here. You alive? Yes we are alive. They told us to crawl through the hole they made. And we crawled. The first lady crawled, 2nd, 3rd, I was the first male. All the first three persons were female and then they took me out.
If anything, the incident has strengthened Mr Ramovha’s faith in TB Joshua and his ministry.
“I will go back to Nigeria when I get a chance,” he said, explaining that the all-inclusive trip organised by church-approved agencies cost close to $2,000 (�1,220).
Mr Joshua, referred to by his followers as a “prophet” is the founder of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) church ministry, which is popular across Africa and elsewhere. More than 130 people survived, including one South African woman who was pulled from the rubble on Monday – three days after the building collapsed.
South Africa’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has said 20 South Africans are currently being treated in Nigerian hospitals after the collapse. The multi-story building which collapsed served as a guesthouse on Mr Joshua’s campus. – See more at: http://www.lailasblog.com/2014/09/it-was-table-that-saved-me-tb-joshua.html#sthash.a0eqNpYn.dpuf
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