Let deaths not be in vain

Sombre-looking family members of slain Phumla Mvinjelwa-Ntombela are shocked by her death.

Family and friends of Phumla Mvinjelwa-Ntombela, who was shot dead with her two daughters, have vowed that their deaths would not be in vain.

Mourners from all over gathered at the Solomon Tshuku Hall in Site C on Wednesday October 2 to remember the lives of the 33-year-old mother and her daughters, Nhlanhla, 10, and Bajabulile, 6.

They had apparently been killed by her husband of 10 years in their Bardale Village home, before he turned the gun on himself.

Phumla’s sister Nondumiso Mvinjelwa said the family has been left traumatised, especially their parents.

Speakers told the grieving family that they are more determined than ever before to make sure that justice is served for their deaths and that of other women who have been victims of their femicide.

Sitting quietly in the front row at the hall, the despair and desolation felt by the Mvinjelwa family was written all over their faces at the memorial service.

Nomfundo Eland, founder of Emthonjeni, a community-based organisation in Khayelitsha, and a long-time activist, told the family that they deserve to grieve the death of their child and grandchildren.

She said there were no words that could convey the depth of the pain, anger, grief and dismay the family must be feeling.

“Phumla’s death will never be in vain. If we do not have power to respond to it, there’s God. God has plans for you.”

“From now on, a lot of women will be saved from the prisons they are in. If the relationship is not working, they must get out,” she said.

Emthonjeni engages communities on HIV prevention, screening of chronic illnesses and gender-based violence interventions.

Another activist and a member of the Democratic Alliance, Ncumisa Mathanga, said society failed the Mvinjelwas and other victims.

She said the community couldn’t protect Phumla while she was alive.

However, she said the battle should be taken up by everyone.

“The death of Phumla means that we are in the battle. This battle is ours as a society. We have been saying enough is enough but the deaths of women at the hands of men continue. We need guidance as women,” she said.

According to the family, the burial date has not yet been set.