SA woman's remains cremated in Bahamas, family to return with ashes

2019-03-18 11:10
Nobuhle Bhengu. (Photo: News24)

Nobuhle Bhengu. (Photo: News24)

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The family of a South African former cruise ship employee who died in the Bahamas have viewed her body before she was cremated and are returning to the country with her ashes, according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Nobuhle Bhengu, 29, died in the Bahamas in February after falling ill aboard the MSC Seaside.

"They (family) have viewed the body. The cremation took place last night and they will return from today with the remains," said Dirco spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya. 

Bhengu's family had been desperate to have her body repatriated to SA, but had to give up on this after the Bahamian government said that the body should be cremated because of international health standards and safety concerns.

Mabaya said the family would be returning with Bhengu's ashes "from Monday".

Bhengu's aunt, Mbali, confirmed to News24 that the cremation had taken place. 

READ: SA family wants Bahamas to repatriate their daughter's body immediately

"The minister of international relations thanked the family for their understanding in this difficult situation. The minister also thanked the Bahama government, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, the minister of home affairs, and the employer of Buhle, MSC, for assisting with logistics," said Mabaya.

Last Tuesday, News24 reported that Bhengu's family was crying foul play, saying that the Bahamian government had toyed with them. This was after hearing that the body could not be repatriated.

"It's like they are trying to hide something," Mbali had told News24 last Tuesday.

The Bahamian government had said the body should be cremated over concerns that Bhengu's unexplained illness could be contagious.

Mbali said she ascertained that her niece was hospitalised for anaemia when she previously spoke to her. She said her employer, MSC, cited stomach flu for her hospitalisation.

Read more on:    dirco  |  bahamas
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