Saturday Star

R350K to bring body from China for burial


THE family of a young woman who died in mysterious circumstan­ces in China has to come up with between R300 000 and R350 000 to bring her body home for burial.

Kgothatso Mdunana, 24, allegedly fell through the window of a 13th floor apartment in Hangzhou, China, while visiting a friend. Her roommate in Qingdao (only known as Princess) and her parents said they didn’t know the mystery friend Kgothatso had visited and have not been able to speak to the person since the tragedy, which happened on April 30.

Her death has been ruled as an accident but her mother, Nomsa Mdunana, told Saturday Star there is no way her daughter fell through a window.

“I spoke with her two days before and she was so excited about graduating. She was a brilliant girl. Very ambitious. She would not throw herself through a window,” said the grieving mother.

Kgothatso had been studying civil engineerin­g at the Shandong University of Technology in Qingdao and was about to complete her degree. She had also been teaching English while universiti­es across China had shut because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The agency she worked for said they would send us whatever money they owed her. Things are going very slow. So far we have managed to raise R25 000 but it’s not enough. We just want to bring her home,” said Nomsa.

Her father, Pfarelo Mphaphuli, said she opted to remain in China when South Africa repatriate­d all its citizens at the height of the pandemic in China.

“She has not been home in three years. My last message to her was ‘I love you too’. We just received a text message from her friend (Princess) to say there had been an accident and that Kgothatso fell through a window and that she had passed,” he said.

Department of Internatio­nal Relations and Co-operation spokespers­on, Lunga Ngqengelel­e, said they were waiting for an update from the Chinese authoritie­s through South Africa’s Mission in China.

“Consular Services is in contact with our mission and our mission is in contact with the authoritie­s in China as they normally are in such cases. In summary, we liaise with our mission who in turn liaise with the Chinese authoritie­s and we facilitate communicat­ion with the family,” he said.

The young woman matriculat­ed from St Stithians College in 2014 and started studying in China in 2016.

The family said in terms of their culture, they have to bring Kgothatso’s spirit home as part of the burial practice. The family are required to go to the spot where she died and “gather her spirit”.

Nomsa said she and ex-husband, Mphaphuli, are planning to do this as soon as they have enough money.

“I checked ticket prices and one ticket costs around R18 000 for one person to fly to China. Then we must still pay for accommodat­ion,” said the worried mom.

¡ Anyone wishing to support the family in their quest to bring their daughter home can do so at: https://­dunana

 ??  ?? KGOTHATSO Mdunana was on the verge of graduating with a degree in civil engineerin­g, in China. | SUPPLIED
KGOTHATSO Mdunana was on the verge of graduating with a degree in civil engineerin­g, in China. | SUPPLIED

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