Mark Wilson left Cape Town just before Christmas, and appeared to be planning to travel overland through Africa until he reached Israel.

Cape Town - A Pinelands man who left as a missionary to Israel and was found dead in Dar es Salaam over the weekend may have succumbed to malaria.

Mark Wilson left Cape Town just before Christmas, and appeared to be planning to travel overland through Africa until he reached Israel, stopping to minister to communities along the way.

On January 3, Wilson posted on Facebook that he thought he had been suffering from malaria, but after people prayed for him, he said he had been healed.

He left Zambia for Tanzania on January 5, and disappeared on the sixth. It was only 10 days later that the family received news that his body had been found in a cemetery in Dar es Salaam.

One of the last people Wilson had contact with before his death, Frank Materu, sent a message to his friends in Cape Town, which they in turn posted online: “Just a short note to let you know that the embassy of South Africa in Tanzania is handling this issue with police in Tanzania and Front Line Fellowship in South Africa. If I receive any updates with regards to his death, I will let you know.”

Repeated requests for information from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation have been met with silence.

One of Wilson’s hosts on his travels, Benji Mumena, wrote: “Mark passed through our place in Zambia on his way to Jerusalem. He prayed for a number of people while he was here, including my parents and siblings. This has come as a shock to me and my family. May God be with his family through this sorrowful moment.”

Wilson’s mother, Ruth, has asked that friends and visitors respect her privacy during the period of mourning, but a friend close to the family posted that they intended to bring his body home to be cremated.

His sister, Denise Pearce, said: “Our family is shocked and devastated to learn of his death. All we know so far is that he was found in a graveyard, with no personal belongings except for his passport. There were no visible injuries. They are doing the postmortem in Tanzania on Monday. Only then will we really know what happened and how he died. We will be making arrangements to have him returned to SA to be cremated.”

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Cape Argus