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'Little princess' drowns in river

By unknown | Feb 27, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The drowning of a six-year-old girl described as a "little princess" has devastated her school and community of Sezela, south of Durban.

Yesterday police cautioned locals living near the river mouth of Sezela beach not to swim where there were no lifeguards.

On Monday six-year-old Lolethu Djakameni from Emalangeni drowned while her family was visiting the beach.

Lolethu's class teacher, Thobekile Zungu, said her death was a great loss to the school.

"When children come to school we become like family and we are devastated at losing our little princess.

"It's very painful. She's left a space in the class that cannot be replaced. She was an intelligent child. She was a little princess and a perfectionist," she said.

The children left their parents on the beach and went swimming in the river. Lolethu, a Grade 1 pupil from Khuphuka Primary School, was later found to have drowned.

Her mother, Nduthando Djakameni, 33, realised that her daughter was missing and started a frantic search for her.

Police spokesman Captain Vincent Pandarum said the boys who were swimming in the river mouth did not know where Lolethu had gone until they saw her body floating near the concrete railway bridge.

He said the women who were with the Djakameni family on the beach tried to resuscitate Lolethu - but it was too late.

"Paramedics were called to the area and declared the child dead. She was taken to the Scottburgh state mortuary," said Pandarum.

He said they were concerned that schoolchildren from Emalangeni frequently swam in the river mouth.

"We urge parents not to allow their children to swim unsupervised.

"The latest death is not the first. The spot used by children is very deep and there are no lifeguards," he said.


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