Mozambican man’s body stuck in limbo

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NTOMBI NDHLOVU

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The Mozambican embassy does not have the budget to have the body of Antonio Chivangue brought home.

On Thursday, The Star Africa reported on Chivangue’s death. His body has been lying in a mortuary in Germiston for more than a month.

His landlord, Sanna Naledi, has been desperately trying to locate his family.

She is determined to have Chivangue’s body returned to his country of birth so his family can mourn him and give him a final act of dignity instead of a pauper’s burial.

Yesterday Naledi waited for more than four hours at the embassy in Rosebank.

Waiting in the cold reception area for four hours didn’t bother her. It was tedious, she admitted, but it was nothing compared to waiting a full month, hoping to get assistance to return Chivangue’s body.

Naledi shook her head and said: “I have been waiting for 30 nights and one day.”

She said she had met Chivangue in Midrand nine years ago. Chivangue had just lost his job as a construction worker and Naledi employed him as the caretaker of her home.

The search for Chivangue’s family has become a personal mission for her because of the kindness that he always showed her over the years.

She said she believed it was only right to be buried in your home country with your loved ones present.

It costs Naledi R150 a day to keep Chivangue’s body at a private undertaker. She is worried that at a state mortuary, he will be given a pauper’s burial.

She was quoted R10 000 to have the body transported to Mozambique by the undertaker and she has been struggling to raise the funds.

At the embassy, she met Jose Manhique, one of the counsellors.

Manhique told her that there was not much the embassy could do for her as hundreds of Mozambicans come into SA and eventually face the same fate.

“The state cannot afford to transport the deceased home as we do not have the budget for it,” he said.

“I am not giving up,” said Naledi as she left the embassy. On Monday, they will hear from her again.


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