Tanzania’s president John Pombe Magufuli is leading a nation that is mourning the death of 22 year old conjoined twins Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti, who died on Saturday night.
The much loved twins were admitted to a local hospital in December, after suffering respiratory complications from a chronic heart condition, but only succumbed on Saturday.
Maria and Consolata, who were very popular in Tanzania, were joined from the navel downwards and shared organs like the liver and lungs, had two hearts and separate heads and arms.
Many people took to social media on Sunday to share their condolences to the family, including the president.
Magufuli tweeted that he was ‘saddened by the deaths’ of women prayed for the nation, when he last visited them at Muhimbili National Hospital.
Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania’s minister of health said the twins ‘have fought a war to the end’.
The twins won the hearts of people all over the world with their determination to complete higher education, telling the BBC that they wanted to become teachers. At the time of their death, they were taking a teaching degree at Catholic University of Ruaha.
“We will teach using a projector and computers,” they said.
Maria and Consolata, who were against the idea of being surgically separated, were supported by funding from local government and private donations.
The two, whose parents died while they were still infants, were raised by the Catholic charity Maria Consolata, which had adopted and named them.