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Mozambique birthday celebration ends in tears

The bodies of four South African who drowned in Mozambique last week have been recovered.
The bodies of four South African who drowned in Mozambique last week have been recovered.
Image: Thinkstock

A birthday celebration turned out to be a misery for the Mokgafe family from Groblersdal, Limpopo after their daughter drowned together with friends at the Portuguese Islands in Mozambique.

Mmatholo Mokgafe, 25, was one of the four friends who died when they swept away by a strong current on Monday.

Mmatholo and seven friends were on a trip to celebrate her birthday. Her lifeless body was the last to be retrieved from the sea on Saturday.

Mathews Mokgafe, chairman of Batho Batsho Bakopane (B3) funeral services and uncle to the victim, said his brother and business partner was torn apart. He said his brother kept asking why the tragedy had happened on his daughter's birthday and why death had not waited for her to at least return home.

Mokgafe said four other friends who had survived told them that the four deceased had gone for a swim when the current suddenly changed.

Among the deceased was also the 19-year-old daughter of Mokgafe's business partner Nico Matsepe.

Mokgafe said what made her death more painful was that in 2018 Matsepe had lost his wife and grandchild while on a trip in Lesotho. "It is double tragedy within a short space of time," he said.

He said, however, that the families were comforted by the fact that they had managed to get the bodies, so they would be able to bury them.

Mokgafe said there were no plans yet for the memorial service and burial because they were still waiting for the bodies to be repatriated.

Spokesperson for the premier of Limpopo Kenny Mathivha said the bodies would be repatriated back to SA by Monday with the assistance of the department of international Relations.

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