The family of a South African student who died in China has pleaded for Good Samaritans to help bring her remains back home.
The family is faced with a R300 000 to R350 000 bill to repatriate Kgothatso Madunana’s remains. Kgothatso, 24, who hails from Lombardy West in Johannesburg, was last seen alive on 30 April by her roommate, known as Princess, in Qingdao, China. She was final-year civil engineering student at Shandong University of Technology.
It is alleged Kgothatso had visited her friend when she fell from a 13th floor apartment in Hangzhou. Her mother, Nomsa Madunana, said she last spoke to Kgothatso on 28 April.
“I only learnt about her death on 30 April. Princess called us that Chinese officials had approached her and told her what had happened to our daughter, She said officers traced her through Kgothatso’s phone. Princess said officers took her to the crime scene and showed her the place where the tragic incident happened,” Nomsa added Kgothatso was expected to graduate in July. “She wanted to achieve more in life.
“The fact that she managed to find a university in China, shows how determined she was in education. She convinced us a family that she wanted to study for her degree abroad. We had saved for her tuition. She had promised us that she would find employment in the United Kingdom, where she would make more money. She was an ambitious child who wanted more. Her parents are battling to accept they will never see their daughter wearing a graduation gown.”
Nomsa said Kgothatso, Princess and her friends from other African countries would often call her and her father to talk about life in China and their plans.
“Our daughter was ambitious. She had told us that she would return home after working overseas and serve her country and start a family. She was doing well academically in China. We never thought that this fateful day would come. We were expecting more from her because of her age. We want to know what happened to our child. Her death has pained us. We were preparing to attend her graduation ceremony in July, virtually. t is heartbreaking for every parent or guardian to go through what we are faced with. As a first-born child, she was a role model to her two siblings. She paved the way for them, and we wanted them to learn from Kgothatso,” she added.
The family said the South African embassy in China said it could not assist them financially in repatriating Kgothatso’s remains. Nomsa said the embassy only assisted in finding an undertaker that would help them at a fee.
The undertaker has charged the family between R300 000 and R350 000 to bring her body back home.
The family has raised R100 000 and have pleaded for more Good Samaritans to come to their aid.
According to IOL, Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said it was waiting for an update from Chinese authorities.
Ngqengelele added the department would liaise with Chinese authorities and facilitate with partner departments should the family wish to repatriate the mortal remains at their cost.