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Durban - The family of an uMlazi pupil who was found dead, possibly raped, and with her eyes gouged out on the eve of the StopRape Campaign last week, are struggling to cope with the death of the eight-year-old.
Nonjabulo Sabelo had been missing for six days when teachers at her Mzwilili Junior Primary School tracked a rotting smell and discovered the body near the school yard last Thursday.
She was found in the bushes with her underwear lying next to her, and, according to an uncle, with her eyes gouged out.
Police prevented family from seeing her body.
Sniffer dogs had searched the school on the day she went missing and afterwards, but no discovery was made until six days later.
Recalling the terrible week for the Sabelo and Khuzwayo families from the family home in uMlazi D-Section, Nonjabulo’s paternal grandmother, Albertina Khuzwayo, said the child had left for school on Friday morning and was to visit the maternal grandmother whose house is close to the school.
She was to have been with the Sabelos the whole weekend.
“I think the grandmother had been to the shopping mall when the child arrived to visit. Realising that no one was there, she then must have decided to make her way back home because other children who live in that area said she was on the way back to us before she went missing,” she said.
Struggling to contain her tears, Khuzwayo said it was a shock that anyone would do such a terrible deed.
“She was a very smart girl, and bubbly. I suspect that the person who has done this is somebody that she knows, otherwise she wouldn’t have gone with that person,” said the grandmother.
“I don’t understand why anyone would want to hurt a young, innocent child like this. This child has not done anything wrong to anyone. She has no sin, why must she be attacked like this?” she said.
The families now fear for Nonjabulo’s 10-year-old cousin, Sli, who goes to the same school.
“We don’t know what to think now, neighbours’ kids and this little one that is left, she’s not safe anymore, and we don’t know the cause of all this,” she said.
Khuzwayo was talking to the Daily News at the home where little Nonjabulo spent much of her short life.
People came in one after the other to mourn with the family
Social Development MEC Wezile Thusi visited the family on Sunday.
According to Khuzwayo, Thusi’s department had offered to assist with some of the costs of the funeral because neither of Nonjabulo’s parents was employed.
Her memorial service will be held at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Thursday and the funeral is set for this weekend.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said that a post-mortem would be conducted today to establish whether Nonjabulo was raped before being murdered.
No arrests have been made.