- Search and recovery teams are still looking for the bodies of an 18-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man.
- The pair presumably drowned during a religious cleansing ritual.
- The mother of the 18-year-old is grief-stricken.
*Thandi is living a mother’s worst nightmare, and every night it gets worse.
“I feel restlessness and have so many unanswered questions,” she told News24 on Monday.
Her 18-year-old daughter drowned in the Klip River in Olifantsvlei, Johannesburg, on Saturday.
Search and rescue teams have been frantically looking for her child.
“It is excruciating and difficult to explain the pain of losing a child in a manner that you cannot understand,” she said.
She asked News24 not to reveal her identity because she had “not yet gotten the courage to tell my family in the Eastern Cape about the incident”.
Search and rescue teams have resumed their search for two young people, understood to be 18 and 21 years old, who were washed away during a cleansing ritual in the Klip River, near Olifantsvlei in Johannesburg, on Saturday night.
The 18-year-old, along with a 21-year-old man, presumably drowned during a religious cleansing ritual.
“Day three of the search operation has now become a search and recovery mission as the chance of recovering the bodies alive is slim,” EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi told News24.
Police divers and the K9 and aquatic rescue units are now working together on this mission.
A series of unanswered calls
Thandi said when her daughter told her she was going to a cleansing ceremony, it did not bother her.
It was common for her to seek counsel and spiritual healing in this manner.
In the afternoon, Thandi called to check in, and her child was fine.
“They said they were still at the river.”
Hours later, she called again – no one answered.
“Finally, when I reached out again, a police officer responded to my phone call and told me that there was an incident and that my child had drowned along with another one.”
And now, instead of making the calls, she is spending her days by the riverside.
Search and recovery workers are still looking for the bodies of an 18-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man who presumably drowned during a religious cleansing ritual. Mother (right) of the 18-year-old is grief-stricken.
‘We need better systems of practice’
“We are pleading with our pastors and prophets that when they are conducting their rituals, they must ensure the safety of their congregants,” Mulaudzi said.
He added people’s right to religious association was important, but it needed to be safe.
“We want to encourage people to be more organised when they perform their rituals, and there is a safety official present who can minister to the situation.”
*Thandi is not the mother’s real name.