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Community, Friends Come Together to Repatriate Deceased Foreigner’s Body in South Africa

By Lymon Mukanga

Nothing is certain but death, an undeniable reality for each and every one of us. The Veterai family was left in a vale of tears after the deep loss of their beloved son, Alphias Veterai, aged 38, who was tragically run over by a taxi in South Africa on Thursday, March 17th, 2023.

The painful truth is that death is an inescapable law granted by God. The most difficult part of it is when someone is caught off guard by death in a foreign land.

Many foreigners find themselves in a situation where they have no insurance policy or savings, and those who will take care of them after they die will use it to take them back home. This is a common norm that nine out of ten foreigners living abroad are facing.

What pains the bereaved the most is enduring the repatriation cost of hauling the corpse from the diaspora to the deceased’s native home. However, in the case of Alphias Veterai, the family’s tears were wiped off by the unity shown by people from the Gawa community, friends, relatives, and workmates in South Africa, and others from different countries who came together to raise funds to repatriate their loved one.

This traditional form of joining hands in the event of losing one of their own has proven its effectiveness to the extent that joining a funeral policy has become a secondary option.

Within three days of Alphias’ passing, the amount of money required to ferry his corpse was already paid and at disposal. Many thanks to the Gawa Burial Society, which was at the forefront of spearheading the flow of contributions. The unity shown by everyone in the WhatsApp group of mourners for Alphias has demonstrated the potency of coming together to assist each other in the event of the loss of life.

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