Kgothatso Mdunana: who fell from the 13th-floor finally lays to rest

Kgothatso Mdunana: who fell from the 13th-floor finally lays to rest

Kgothatso Mdunana
Kgothatso Mdunana

The young woman will be laid to rest today at the Waterfall Cemetery in Midrand, more than a month after she fell through the window of a 13th-floor apartment in Hangzhou, China on April 30.

Mdunana’s mother, Nomsa Mdunana said the family had no choice but to accept the findings of the Chinese government to avoid any further delays in repatriating her mortal remains back to South Africa for burial.

A statement by the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria said: “The media in South Africa and other parts of the world has rightly kept communities abreast with information since the tragic passing of Ms Kgothatso Mdunana, the 24-year-old South African student who was studying in China.

“The Chinese Embassy in South Africa has attached great importance to the matter, and closely followed the developments on the tragic death of the young person. The Embassy deeply regretted the tragic loss of Ms Mdunana and expressed sincere sympathy to her family.

Family, and friends of Kgothatso Mdunana remembered her at her funeral service in Alexandra on Saturday.

They said she was adored by many around the world and touched many hearts after she fell to her death in China.

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The 24-year-old was just three months away from graduating from Shandong University of Technology when she plunged through a window on the 13th floor at a friends’ apartment in Hangzhou in April.

She was only repatriated this week, after the family finally managed to raise enough money to bring her home.
Mdunana’s sisters paid tribute, remembering her love and fun personality.

Her eldest sister Diana Matumba said she struggled to come to terms with her sudden death.

“Life changed radically on the 13th of April 2021. But the memories we share – they will never change. Kgothi, I am eternally grateful for you and the light that you shone so bright.

Her youngest sister Lindelani Mphaphuli said she lived her life to the fullest.

“I don’t remember us fighting with you nor being angry with you. I only remember memories of laughter and happiness. You were a bubbly soul. You taught us so much. Your light shone through.”
Since the news broke, the Embassy has availed itself to provide assistance to the bereaved family in dealing with the aftermath of the unbearable loss, including facilitation of the recent legal documents for the repatriation of Ms Mdunana’s remains.

It has been communicated to the bereaved family that the Embassy stands ready to issue visas and to provide other facilitations for the parents to travel to the People’s Republic of China. Information received by the Embassy shows that the police in China has ruled out the possibility of homicide, after a careful investigation. The established cause of death has been found to be an accidental fall from a building.”

Grieving but relieved family members welcomed Mdunana’s body OR Tambo International earlier this week. The young woman, a former St Stithians College learner, was on the verge of graduating with a degree in Engineering from the University in Shandong.

She had been visiting a friend when she fell to her death. Neither the family nor Kgothatso’s roommate, Princess, in Qingdao, know the mystery friend she visited and have not been able to speak to the person since the tragedy.

Mdunana’s mother said the family received a video from Princess, who received it from the mystery friend, showing that her daughter had fallen to her death. At the time of the devastating news, the family said there was no way she would “throw” herself out of a window.

A memorial service was held on Thursday at the St Stithians College Chapel in Randburg.

“It’s bittersweet for us, but at least now we know where she will be buried, in her hometown. We couldn’t really argue with the report from the Chinese because it would have taken longer for Kgothatso to come home. I have seen her body. While we are grieving, we are at peace now,” said Mdunana.

The parents of the young woman will travel to China in August to perform a cultural practice, the gathering of her spirit.

“When we get to China we will have to go into quarantine for 28 days before we can do anything. We are hoping that we will find more answers when we get there,” she said.

Mdunana again thanked South Africans and people from around the world for their generosity towards the family.

“We are so humbled and grateful to everyone who opened their hearts and wallets to help our family and to help Kgothatso come home. Thank you to my employers and my son’s school for arranging counselling for us,” she said.

A backabuddy campaign raised R615 000 to assist the family in getting their daughter’s body back home.

The Saturday Star