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Two Portuguese Island deceased laid to rest in Groblersdal

By: Maano Nekhavhambe

Two inspiring young girls from Limpopo Province, Mmatholo Mogafe and Lesego Matsepe, were laid to rest in a dignified Provincial send-off on Sunday, 27 January 2019.

 

The pair were part of a group that went to Mozambique for birthday celebrations but joy soon turned to tragedy after they were reported missing and later confirmed dead.

Five members of the group reportedly went swimming, but were swept away from shore by a strong current. One survivor of the incident Vincent Rammupudu managed to make it back to the shore, but the other four friends met their untimely death.

The Funeral service was held at the Groblersdal Rugby stadium, Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality, with thousands of people including Limpopo Provincial Government officials led by Premier Stanley Chupu Mathabatha gracing the occasion.

Two other people who also drowned, David Kaise and Gregory Mfune, with them were buried during separate funeral services in Mpumalanga and Free State on Saturday.

The four bodies were repatriated to South Africa on Wednesday last week following a successful search operations by the Mozambican authorities tasked by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

At the time of her death, Mogafe; 24; was training as an Air Traffic Controller after graduating for her degree in Economics and Econometrics at the University of Pretoria in 2017.

Matsepe, 19, was still enrolled in a Biochemistry course and had previously studied Information Technology at Boston College.

Mathabatha said Matsepe and Mogafe deaths are great loss to the province.

“Yes it’s a great loss to us as a province because Mmatholo (Mogafe) was training as an Aviation Technician and Lesego (Matsepe) was going to train in Biochemistry. Those are scarce skills that you need when we talk of the fourth Industrial Revolution so if you lose them at this critical stage it becomes very painful for us as a government of South Africa.” Mathabatha stressed

Despite a Portuguese Island being one of the most beautiful tourism Icon in the Southern Hemisphere, Philip Strydom who is the chairperson of the Mozambique Foreign Business Chamber has confirmed that the Island is notoriously dangerous without life savers on standby and it also has a recorded history of South Africans drowning in those waters, with their bodies not being recovered, which dates back to as far as 1960s and also most notable the young couple from Vhembe District were a young husband went missing whilst on honeymoon in 2016.

Mathabatha is calling for survival orientation programmes to be offered to tourists on the Portuguese Islands in Mozambique to prevent drowning.

“We need more interventional matters from the part of Mozambique government or if it needs be the South African government must also assist where there is no capacity just in case. The Issue of life guards and equipment to warn people of the dangers within that Island must be there.”