Family devastated by drowning of brothers

THE family of the two Mahlangu brothers who drowned while fishing in a river in northern Zululand on Sunday is still trying to come to terms with their loss.

Thabiso Mahlangu, 14, and Sboniso Mahlangu, 12were pupils at the Mboza Primary School in Mhlabuyalingana. Thabiso was in Grade 6 and Sboniso in Grade 5.

Their sister Nonhlanhla said their death as "devastating".

She said the two were too young to die like this.

She said the river needed to be fenced off and she hoped the tragic death of her brothers would convince the local authorities of the need to cordon off the area.

Thabiso had apparently lost a friend's fishing hook and had taken Sboniso deeper into the river to look for it in a home-made boat .

"Their paddle got stuck and they lost control of the boat," said Sandile Mthebu, 13, who witnessed the incident.

Thabiso jumped off the boat and tried to swim but they saw him drown.

"Realising that Thabiso was drowning Sboniso jumped into the river and also drowned," Sandiso said. "I rushed to call older people and they searched for them. We found their bodies in the river."

Mboza Primary School principal, Jabulani Jiyane said the drowning was a shock. He described the brothers as "energetic and adventurous".