Families welcome sailors home

Luzuko Pongoma

Luzuko Pongoma

Military police struggled to keep the excited families of the SAS Queen Modjadji crew from falling into the sea when they tried to get closer to their loved ones when the submarine docked in Simon's Town last week.

Maureen Kekana hugged her son as he stepped off the boat and called his uncontrollably weeping wife over.

The crew was flown to Europe for special training on South Africa's latest German-made submarine.

They sailed for home in their new craft on April 2, performing sea trials and tests on the long passage back.

Keabetswe Kekana arrived 24 hours late for his first wedding anniversary but his wife Melisa was excited to see him again.

"I have waited for this day for months," Melisa said. "It was like a lifetime. I missed him very much."

The couple have two children and Melisa stayed with her in-laws in Pretoria while Keabetswe served his country abroad.

Kekana, a radar technician, was born in Soshanguve. He joined the navy in 2001 and is one of eight black officers on the boat.