Mozambique drownings: Friends laid to rest in Limpopo

Mmatholo Mogafe and Lesego Matsepe were buried yesterday following their deaths in Mozambique.
Mmatholo Mogafe and Lesego Matsepe were buried yesterday following their deaths in Mozambique.
Image: THULANI MBELE

A young man who lost four friends during a tragic drowning incident in Mozambique could not hold back his tears as he paid tribute to them yesterday.

Vincent Rammupudu, who survived the ordeal, spoke at the funeral service of Mmatholo Mogafe and Lesego Matsepe in Globlersdal, Limpopo, yesterday.

The two youngsters drowned while on vacation with a group of friends to celebrate Mogafe's birthday.

Mogafe died with three friends while swimming in the Portuguese Islands on her 24th birthday on January 14.

The other two friends were buried on Saturday in Mpumalanga and the Free State.

Rammupudu recalled their last moments together - how their fun and laughter was ruined in a heartbeat.

"It is very hard for me to be up here today while trying my best to focus on the times we rejoiced with them rather than the fact that they are no more," Rammupudu said.

"On Monday, the 14th of January, it was a special day because it was Mmatholo's birthday. Little did we know that we were all bidding them farewell."

Rammupudu broke down, pausing for a while before regaining his composure.

He went on to tell the mourners about their trip, in which they toured various islands during a cruise.

"We enjoyed the food and drinks. It was a wonderful experience," he said.

At the time of her death, Mogafe was employed as an air traffic controller.

She graduated in 2017 after studying economics and econometrics at the University of Pretoria.

Matsepe was enrolled in a biochemistry course at the time of her death and had previously studied information technology at Boston College.

Vincent Rammupudu is comforted by Lesego Matsepe's father, Nico, after paying tribute to his friend Mmatholo Mogafe at her funeral service in Groblersdal.
Vincent Rammupudu is comforted by Lesego Matsepe's father, Nico, after paying tribute to his friend Mmatholo Mogafe at her funeral service in Groblersdal.
Image: THULANI MBELE

Lefentje Mampuru paid tribute to Mogafe, describing her as a loving and kind person.

"Our friendship was perfect in its own unique way. All you ever wanted in life was to have a good time and to give good vibes. Rest in peace my angel. I love you so much," Mampuru said.

Mokono Mashile, who spoke on behalf of the Matsepe family, said the deaths had left them shattered.

Mashile said the parents of the late friends had suffered through days of worry and stress after being informed their children were missing.

"We can never imagine the painful experience you went through," Mashile said.

Limpopo premier Stanley Mathabatha said people should be well informed about the dangers of swimming around the Portuguese Islands, where the weather is unpredictable.

He said in the past 10 years, more than 20 people had disappeared in those waters.

"Something needs to be done. People should be informed about the dangers of swimming there," he said.

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