Doomed father’s last photo

2013-01-08 00:00

THE chairperson of Mkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) in Jerome Langa (eThekwini) region asked his friends to photograph him so his son could see how happy he was.

Minutes later, on Sunday, Nduduzo “Sticks” Mdletshe drowned in Inanda Dam where he and friends were water-skiing.

MKMVA provincial chairman Themba Mavundla said yesterday: “Before we launched the boat, he said we needed to take his photo to show to his son how happy he was. It was as if he knew he would not come back.”

The friends, all MKMVA members, had gone on the outing after one of their friends had bought a boat.

Mavundla said that while relaxing in the boat, they decided to take a swim.

“We took off our life jackets and jumped into the dam for a swim, the three of us, myself, Sticks and Lungelo Radebe.

“We swam back to the boat and when it was his [Mdletshe's] turn he struggled to come back. We threw a life jacket and he could not hold it. We threw a rope, he could not grab it,” Mavundla said.

Radebe jumped into the water to help Mdletshe, but he too struggled.

“The skipper of the boat jumped into the water and rescued Lungelo. When he looked for Sticks, he was submerged and just disappeared,” Mavundla said.

He said they raised the alarm, but help did not come on time.

Yesterday, family members and representatives from MKMVA, the Young Communist League and the ANC Youth League were at the dam while the rescuers searched for Mdletshe's body.

Mavundla said that when the family was taken by boat to the spot where Mdletshe drowned, his wife tried to jump into the water, but was restrained. The family declined to speak to The Witness, saying they were too distraught.

Mdletshe's younger brother, Mayibongwe, wrote on Facebook after the boat ride to the spot where Mdletshe drowned: “3weeks bck i was in Nanda dam eskebheni [boat] going 2Durban jazz festival but 2dy im bck in sorrow luking 4my brada.”

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said the search was called off as it was dark, and it would resume today.

“Police divers from Port Shepstone, Durban and Pietermaritzburg were called in to assist and have been diving around the clock for the missing man,” he said.

• mayibongwe.maqhina@witness.co.za

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