While the world observed international Mandela Day, on Monday July 18, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and the Ninini family marked the first anniversary of their daughter Bongiwe’s gruesome killing.
They placed wreaths at the crime scene, marched through the streets of Site C, denouncing the senseless killings of children and women, and held a candlelight night vigil at Ntlanganiso High School.
Nineteen-year-old Bongiwe’s body was found stuffed in an unused drain in an open field opposite the Thembani shopping centre, just a few kilometres away from her home, on July 18 last year.
The young woman had left her home with three of her friends on a Friday night and it was the last time her mother would see her daughter alive.
She was the youngest of three children. Her family, friends and acquaintances wept openly as they laid the wreaths on the drain where her body was found.
Khayelitsha residents and advocacy groups then marched through the streets, chanting that rapists and murderers were “dogs’“ who did not deserve to live with other people.
Khayelitsha cluster commander, Major General Johan Brand, said that three of the four men accused of killing Bongiwe had been positively linked to the case through DNA. He added that a spade believed to have been used in the crime was found at one of the suspect’s homes. He said they were still gathering more evidence to fully link the other suspect to the case, but he said they had a strong case against them.
This case is set to go to court on Friday August 5.
“We are here to assure the residents of Khayelitsha that we are working around the clock to render quality policing service to them, but I also need to commend the residents of Site C for working with us.
“To be honest, we made all of these breakthrough arrests because of the information they provided us and without their valuable contribution to this case, we would not have managed to arrest the suspects. The policing service that is rendered to the residents of Tokai and other affluent suburbs must be the same service that people of Khayelitsha and other townships must get. We are also appealing to them to come forward and inform us when they have information or when they know who the perpetrators of crime are instead of taking the law into their hands,” he said.
Nomlozi Ninini, Bongiwe’s mother, described the death of her youngest daughter as one of the most difficult times of her life and said it has not yet sunk in that she would never see her daughter again.
She said a few years ago her son was stabbed to death and she was still battling to come to terms with that and Bongiwe had been supporting her through it.
She described Bongiwe as a free- spirited person who loved going out with her friends.
Ninini said she missed Bongiwe’s cooking.
“As a parent you don’t wish to bury your child but you wish that your child would grow and look after you and bury you, not the other around.
“But for me I had to bury two of my children who I was hoping would work and take care of me and now they are gone. This is one of the days that I will never forget in my life and personally I will never celebrate International Mandela Day because it is the day that I lost my daughter, not that I have anything I against it. I applaud the swift actions of the police in apprehending the alleged killers of my beloved daughter and the unwavering support that I have received from the people of Khayelitsha,” she said.
Nomthetho Kilo, SJC community support officer, said Khayelitsha residents need to take a stand against the crimes committed against women and children. She also appealed to the residents to work hand in hand with the police in fighting the scourge of crime in their communities. “ We are tired of being continuously victimised by men who believe that we are their objects. We are human beings like you and we have rights and we need to be respected as well. We are here to show our support for this,” she said.