The charred remains of Nonkululeko Ngubeni, 19, a second-year student at Rosebank College in Johannesburg, were found in Braamfischerville on New Year’s Eve, a day after she disappeared from her Mofolo South, Soweto, home.
In two separate funerals at the weekend, Johannesburg residents bade a tearful farewell to two victims of senseless murders. One was of 21-year-old University of Johannesburg final-year B Com Accounting student Palesa Madiba, whose skeletal remains were found buried in a shallow grave in Phiri, Soweto, two-and-a-half years after her disappearance.
The other was of 27-year-old Zestah September, whose badly burnt body was found on the side of the road in Lenasia on New Year’s Eve. A man has appeared in court in connection with the murder. On Wednesday January 13 the City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Councillor Nonceba Molwele, visited the Ngubeni family to share her shock and grief and to commiserate with them following their daughter’s murder.
Nonkululeko was last seen when she left home on December 30 to do her hair at the local salon.
Flanked by social workers and members of faith-based organisations, MMC Molwele said it was disheartening to see so many women – Johannesburg’s future leaders – being killed like this.
“We don’t bring up our children so we as parents can bury them. We bring them up so they can bury us,” she said.
With her voice cracking, MMC Molwele said in the old days it was rare for young women to be murdered in this way.
“We think society is sick. These killings have become a scourge and this cannot be tolerated,” she added.
She called on communities to rise up and join hands with the government and the police to fight the scourge. MMC Molwele said the killers needed to be removed from society.
“The killers are human beings and are known. So, let’s flush them out. We can’t continue to live in fear,” she said.
The MMC added that it was imperative for communities to work closely with the police and faith-based organisations to end the killings.
“We alone as government can’t stop this. Let’s all join hands and pray for this to end. These killings of our youth are killing our future,” she said.
Baba Ngubeni, the slain young woman’s father, said commiseration by neighbours was therapeutic. Ward councillor Zodwa Nxumalo said she was humbled by the support and assistance the bereaved family had received. Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalised.