Sinead Moodliar, 19, a student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, was on holiday in the resort town of Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal when she was found in the ocean.

The teenager, who was signed to a London modelling agency, had been staying at her parent's flat in the town whilst they were in the UK at the time of the tragedy.

Her body was reportedly pulled from the water by lifeguards on Boxing Day and CPR led to her pulse being regained.

She was rushed to a local hospital for emergency care but the 19-year-old died shortly after, according to her father Bob Moodliar.

Her grieving dad told reporters his daughter had been watching the sunrise with a friend at the beach with her feet in the water.

Bob says it is believed she was hit by a freak wave and she could have died after being smashed into rocks which were close by.

Her father said university bosses have now decided to award her the degree posthumously because of the results she had already achieved.

Bob says his daughter's death has been "one long nightmare for our family" and added that finding out the exact circumstances of Sinead's death would help bring closure.

He and his wife Noeleen flew straight to South Africa after she was pulled from the water but were informed upon landing that Sinead had died.

Bob is now appealing for any witnesses to come forward as there is a gap in knowing exactly what happened between her leaving their flat and her being rescued.

He says his daughter had planned to study a Masters degree in political science before pursuing a career in politics, adding that she looked up to former South African leader Nelson Mandela.

It is unclear if a police investigation has been launched or if foul play is suspected.