Armed South African soldiers chat with a man in Begoua, Central African Republic, in this still image taken from video on March 23, 2013.

Cape Town - He tried phoning every hour, but his brother never picked up.

It was only on Monday, when news began to filter through from the Central African Republic, that Vuyisile Mxhosana found out his younger brother had been killed.

Jimmy Mxhosana, 27, was one of 13 South African soldiers who died after army forces stationed in Bangui clashed with rebel fighters.

When Vuyisile Mxhosana received the news from authorities he said he felt like he had “entered another world”.

“I can barely speak about it,” he said.

“The last time we spoke was on Friday. He said fighting had started… He didn’t sound scared, he just said; sort out things with our mother.”

Mxhosana was the youngest of four siblings, and had always wanted to join the military. As soon as he finished a year at college, he enlisted and began training in Bloemfontein where he climbed through the ranks and eventually joined the Special Forces Regiment.

Vuyisile Mxhosana remembered driving his brother to the military base just a few days before he was set to be deployed in Bangui in December.

It was the last time they saw each other.

“All the memories are flooding in at the moment,” he said.

But Vuyisile is more worried about his mother, who is dealing with the news alone in Pretoria three years after her husband died.

“I’m going to go see her, and we will see where we go from there.”

Funeral arrangements are on hold as the family waits to hear if his body will be brought back to the country. But Vuyisile Mxhosana said he was bitter about a “state that has taken everything and given him nothing but sorrow”.

Cape Argus