Accident ruined her second chance

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feb 15 crime scene INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS nvestigators from Gauteng are en route to the Midlands to look into the causes of the derailment of a train, carrying explosive chemical butane, outside Pietermaritzburg. Stock photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - She has yet to be told the worst. On Wednesday, 11-year-old Letti Chauke was involved in a horrific accident.

A minibus taxi slammed into her and her sister, Lenda. It dragged Lenda 50m before it stopped. She died on the scene.

Letti is now at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

Her right leg has been fractured and the family fear that she will never walk again.

But that is not the worst of it. In June, the two sisters lost their mother and they have since lived a life that their uncle, Jeffery Chauke, has described as “filled with grief and upheaval”.

Reuben Lebea, a family friend, suspects that Lenda might have been trying to save her sister when the accident happened on the R511 in Diepsloot just before 8am.

“Lenda was everything to Letti. She was fiercely protective of Letti because they were orphaned,” said Lebea.

Chauke fears that the news of Lenda’s death will hamper Letti’s recovery.

The family have advised him to keep the news of Lenda’s death from Letti, so that the younger sister can focus on getting well.

“Lenda wanted to be an actress and a beauty queen. She would sit and look at the mirror for hours (trying) out different hairstyles and Letti would watch her and giggle. Letti sometimes would be Lenda’s customer and she would do her hair,” said Chauke.

The girls were too traumatised to go to school last year.

“This was supposed to be a fresh start for them. We felt a change of scenery would help them heal and then this happens… I have no words,” said Chauke.


Joburg metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said a case of culpable homicide had been opened.

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