DURBAN - The bodies of four friends who drowned while on holiday in Mozambique were expected to arrive in South Africa on Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the families said.
"The bodies of Lesego Matsepe (20), Gregory Mfune (27), David Kaise, (29) and Mmatholo Mogafe (24) will finally arrive in South Africa today, 22 January, to be laid to eternal rest. They crossed the border between South Africa and Mozambique together, and they are returning today still a collective," said Bongane Diako in a press statement issued on Tuesday night.
Diako said the bodies left Maputo at 7.45pm.
"As bereaved families, this day marks the first important step on our journeys towards finding our much needed closure."
The past eight days were a painful experience of uncertainty and sadness for the four families and many South Africans, said Diako.
"When their bodies finally arrive in the country of their birth, each one will be directed to the province in which their family resides to separately conduct burials," he said.
Gregory Mfune's burial would take place on Saturday in the Free State town of Bethlehem at Thokoza High School, starting 7.30am.
David Kaise would be buried on Saturday in Embalenhle, Mpumalanga.
Diako said that as a result of close family ties, a joint funeral would be held on Sunday for Lesego Matsepe and Mmatholo Mogafe, who were both from Groblersdal, Limpopo.
The service will start at 7am at the local Groblersdal Rugby Stadium.
"We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the search and rescue teams, all the authorities and the people of Mozambique for their important role in the search for the bodies of our beloved. Our special gratitude to the residents of the area around Makaneta, where the bodies were separately uncovered, for remaining on the watch and alerting the authorities on time," said Diako.
"To the South African authorities that felt our distress, the premier of Limpopo, and all our fellow countrymen who kept us in their prayers, thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts. You made our pain more bearable."
African News Agency (ANA)