Johannesburg - A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions has devastated a soon-to-be-engaged Joburg woman as her boyfriend was stabbed to death while defending her during a robbery.
And, in a sad twist of fate, the 30 white roses and one red rose Vekneshan Moodley had planned to give to his future fiancée, Jackie Jagar, as part of his proposal were instead placed on his coffin at his funeral on Tuesday.
Moodley was stabbed at about 8.30pm at the Fordsburg Square flea market after shopping with Jagar on Saturday, April 26 as he tried to defend his future wife.
“He is a hero,” said Moodley’s mother, Vijay.
She said they had been informed that the couple were held up as they were getting into their car and that her son had put his hands up and told them to take anything, but not to hurt them.
However, Vijay said that when the men tried to grab Jagar, Vekneshan tried to protect her and he was then stabbed by the robbers, who fled with a cellphone, his wallet and her handbag. He was taken to the nearby Netcare Garden City Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
The family said Vekneshan – known as Vee by those close to him – had initially planned to propose by having 30 of their mutual friends hand her a white rose and then he would get down on one knee with a red one.
“That was his plan. The day of the funeral, she reversed the role,” Vijay said.
“She is utterly devastated,” she said.
Jagar was unavailable for comment as she left for Durban on Sunday to be with her family.
The couple had been dating for 18 months and Vekneshan had set a date for the wedding for 2016, the family said.
“I’ve never seen two people who clicked as well as them,” said Vekneshan’s brother, Lee.
“He was the life of the party, he was the glue that kept everyone together,” he said.
Vekneshan, a self-taught musician who could play several instruments, was in fleet management and had recently returned from Nigeria and was planning to go to Dubai as part of research projects for his work.
Vijay called on the Fordsburg business community to take action on crime, adding that the area was unsafe.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get over it, but if we are able to save someone else from the same fate, that will make us feel a lot better,” she said.
Vekneshan’s father, Super, agreed and said ordinary people could make a difference too and either help or report such situations.
“We want people not to stand back and say, ‘it’s not my problem’, but to go and help.”
A case of murder had been opened at Johannesburg Central police station, but no arrests had been made, said police spokesman Constable Michael Kgatla.