The family of a South African woman who died from tuberculosis (TB) in Nassau is pleading to the Bahamian government to repatriate her remains and refrain from cremation. However, the government says that won’t be possible.
Nobuhle Bhengu fell ill while working on a cruise ship.
Her remains are at a local funeral home, according to a March 5 letter sent to the funeral home by the South African High Commission.
The high commission requested the intervention of the government of The Bahamas through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking that the planned cremation of Bhengu’s remains be put on hold.
In a statement late yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The Bahamas government is deeply saddened by the death of Ms. Nobuhle Ntombenhle Bhengu. The Bahamas also understands the desire of her family to repatriate her body to South Africa for burial.
“Representatives of The Bahamas met today with members of Ms. Bhengu’s family and a representative of the South African government.
“At that meeting, it was discussed that international public health standards, including the public health standards of both the South African and Bahamian governments, would not allow for repatriation of Ms. Bhengu’s body to South Africa.
“For that reason, Ms. Bhengu’s family will have the opportunity to view her remains over the next three days before the remains are cremated. While all parties sought to find a way to repatriate Ms. Bhengu’s remains, regrettably cremation is the only course of action that conforms with national and international health regulations.”
The Nassau Guardian was unsuccessful in getting a comment from the funeral home.