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Johannesburg - Palesa Madiba was wearing her favourite blue blazer when her family last saw her.
On the morning of Women’s Day, Friday August 9, her uncle Thabiso Tsoledi woke her, her sisters and her aunt up for a surprise breakfast in Sandton. He knew Madiba would be excited because she loved to eat.
Madiba was reported missing to the police last Tuesday evening.
The petite 20-year-old had told her uncle that she was going to visit her mother in Protea Glen for the weekend, but when she left her home in Diepkloof that Friday, she headed elsewhere.
According to her friend Tshidi Mkhwanazi, Madiba spent the long weekend with her and her family in Phiri.
“From what I know, Palesa took a taxi to the Bara taxi rank and then bumped into Tshidi’s stepfather,” explained the uncle. “He told her that no one was home at Phiri.”
The stepfather then took Madiba to Southgate Mall, where Mkhwanazi’s family were attending a children’s birthday party at the Spur. Madiba spent the weekend with them.
On the Saturday, Madiba communicated with her boyfriend for the last time.
On the Sunday, Mkhwanazi told Madiba’s family that the two of them spent the day indoors cooking.
And then, last Monday, Mkhwanazi told Madiba’s family that when she left for work, she had left Madiba alone in the house and told her to lock up and leave the key with a neighbour. She instead handed it to Mkhwanazi’s uncle, who lived in the outside room.
Madiba is in her final year of a BCom Business Management degree at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus and had a class at 10am last Monday, but she never made it there.
“We’ve been tracking the location of her phone through a private company, and it has been off, but at the same location, ever since,” said Tsoledi, who felt that revealing the location could jeopardise the case. “Whoever has it deleted all her BBM contacts on the Tuesday we found out she was missing.”
Madiba’s mother, Khosi Galesitwe, said she hadn’t been able to sleep or eat since her daughter went missing.
“Where is my child?” said the 43-year-old. “What are they doing to her?”
Galesitwe said she didn’t understand why no one besides the Mkhwanazi family had seen Madiba since she went missing.
“In these times that we live in, many terrible things happen,” she said, looking at her daughter’s bed.
“I pray to God that we find her alive.”’