A double tragedy struck a Riebeeck East family after two young cousins drowned at a farm dam outside the small Eastern Cape village on Sunday afternoon.
A family member was forced to go into the water and recover one of the bodies while a second body was recovered by SAPS divers.
The girls — aged 6 and 7 — were living with their grandparents‚ Stemele Jack‚ 61‚ and Eunice Nzwane‚ 57.
Jack said he had to dive into the “deep” waters to fetch the floating body of Avusiwe Magwala‚ 6. He could see her head which was showing from near the surface.
However‚ Jack‚ who said he was a fairly good swimmer‚ could not find the body of Alipheli Jack.
Her body was recovered by the Port Elizabeth SAPS search and rescue divers.
Eunice Nzwane described her grandchildren as “playful” and “cheerful” who loved outdoor activities.
Riebeeck East is a farming area that lies 42km west of Grahamstown.
Grahamstown police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said police have opened an inquest docket following the incident. The two youngsters’ mothers are sisters.
Govender said the incident occurred at approximately 1.20pm on Sunday. “It is believed that the children were swimming in the dam when the tragic incident took place.”
Family members were alerted about the drownings by a minor who was with the deceased pair on what was believed to be a swimming outing.
“When the local SAPS arrived one child was already retrieved by a local member of the community and‚ after the arrival of police divers‚ the second child was recovered.”
Tiso Black Star Group/Daily Dispatch/Malibongwe Dayimani