TRAGEDY: Masixole “Hassan” Mkrakra, a star player in Bathurst’s Tiger Titans cricket team, drowned while swimming in the Bathurst quarry on Monday Picture: FILE
TALENTED young township cricket player Masixole Mkrakra drowned while swimming with friends in the Bathurst quarry on Monday.
Mkrakra, 20, was the first member of the Tiger Titans to receive provincial colours and as a participant in the President’s Award was specially invited to address an audience of dignitaries at Lord’s Cricket Ground in March.
“Mama Tiger” Anne McCreath, who helped her son Ross start the township cricket club, said they were all “devastated” by the loss.
McCreath rushed to the quarry on Monday afternoon after receiving a frantic call from Titans coach Duzi Mkalipi.
“The quarry was very full of water after the rain. It must be at least 4-5m deep in some places,” said McCreath.
She said Mkrakra and the two friends he was with at the time were doing their Xhosa initiation into manhood, and he was close to the end of his time in the bush.
“They were not good swimmers and used empty plastic bottles under their arms to help them float,” she said.
She said one of the boys apparently lost a bottle and Mkrakra disappeared under the water when he tried to help.
NSRI Port Alfred also responded to assist the Police Dive Unit search for Mkrakra’s body, but after a few hours left it to police to complete the search.
“We stayed until they found his body,” said an emotional McCreath.
She said people were hoping beyond hope that he would still be found alive.
“It’s a huge loss to the community. He was so excited about doing matric next year. He was the best – he was the perfect example of what to do when given opportunities,” she said.
“He was dependable and trustworthy. He was an inspiration.”
A date for the funeral still has to be announced.