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‘It’s a nightmare we can’t wake up from’: family of woman killed in workplace accident


Jihaan died in a freak accident at the store she worked at in Tyger Valley Mall.

  • Jihaan Ori died in a freak accident at work Tyger Valley Mall on Thursday.
  • A heavy wooden shelf fell on her.
  • The police started an investigation.

The family of Jihaan Ori, 40, who died after a heavy wooden shelf fell on her at work at Tyger Valley Shopping Center in Durbanville on Thursday, are in shock that their sister’s life has come to an end.

Ori was a regional manager at Typo stationery store. She was assisting a co-worker at a store in the Tyger Valley Mall that was scheduled to be relocated to another location in the mall when the incident occurred.

Ori worked at Typo for nearly 14 years and loved her job, said her emotional sister Carmen Klassen, who added that Ori had a “heart of gold” and was loved by many.

“We are still in complete disbelief that our sister is no longer with us. It’s like a nightmare that we have to wake up from, but we can’t,” a heartbroken Klaassen told News24.

Klaassen said the shock of the tragedy hit her and her siblings very hard.

“As a family, it’s very hard on all of us,” she said.

Klaassen said that when she got the news of her sister’s freak accident, her colleagues had to give her pills to calm her down because she couldn’t believe what had happened.

“Where I work, we are not allowed to have phones in the workplace, but I saw that there were a lot of notifications on my phone, so I went to take the call,” she said. It was another sister – Ori was the third of seven siblings – who broke the tragic news to Klassen.

“I heard her say, ‘There was an accident at Jihaan’s workplace… and she never made it out alive.’ And then I went numb.”

brothers and sisters

Family photo: Carmen Klaassen, Charmaine Fisher (mother), Meagan Fisher, Jihaan Ory and Levern Snyders, right

Klaassen said when she came to work for Ora, it was undergoing renovations as they were about to move to another location in the mall.

“I was told that she was helping to move things in the store, collecting things, when a heavy wooden shelf fell on her. She was a very petite person,” Klaassen added.

Police spokesman Sergeant Wesley Twigg said Belleville police had registered an inquest into the death.

“The circumstances of the incident are under investigation, no arrests have been made,” Twigg added.

Ori was buried according to Muslim rites on Friday in Mitchells Plain.

“She’s from Mitchells Plain. I know she must be very happy to be buried in her hometown with all her loved ones and her three children,” Klaassen said.

Orri’s husband, Riyad Orri, died last August after contracting Covid-19.

“A year has passed and now all three of their children are left without parents. It’s very sad, now I sympathize with them more than anything,” Klaassen added.

Klaassen said the three children — ages 21, 16 and 7 — are staying with their grandmother until arrangements are finalized for them.

It would have been Ora’s 41st birthday in December, and the siblings planned to take the celebration off as they hadn’t been together for very long.

“Jihaan loved her family. She was always very family-oriented, said Klaassen, who last saw her sister three weeks ago.

“Never in a million years did I think that would be the last time I would see her alive,” Klassen said.

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