Nondumiso Ndlebe discovered her mother Nontsikelelo Ndlebe’s lifeless body with burn wounds inside her house in Lingelethu West on Saturday. Nontsikelelo was 78. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)
Nondumiso Ndlebe discovered her mother Nontsikelelo Ndlebe’s lifeless body with burn wounds inside her house in Lingelethu West on Saturday. Nontsikelelo was 78. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Khayelitsha family shocked and traumatised at finding grandma's naked, burnt body

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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Cape Town - A Khayelitsha family are struggling to make sense of the death of their 78-year-old mother, and grandmother, Nontsikelelo Ndlebe, whose body was found naked and burnt in her bedroom on Saturday.

Ndlebe's body was found by her two daughters, Nondumiso Ndlebe and Nosisa Ndlebe, who called on Saturday morning to sort out water problems in the house.

Nondumiso said she knocked at the front door, but her mother did not respond, which raised her suspicions because she knew her mother as an early bird.

She said she went to the kitchen door at the back of the house and found the door was broken down.

“As I entered through the door, I smelt the smoke of burnt clothes. I quickly went to the rooms to check as I was calling my mother,” said Nondumiso.

She said she found her mother's lifeless body undressed and naked. “I do not know how I will forget what I saw. She was burnt on the upper body, her thighs and legs also had burn wounds. The fire did not go to other rooms, only her bedroom burnt,” she said.

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Ndlebe lived alone, and her children and grandchildren visited her frequently. Nondumiso said she could not remove the image of her mother’s body from her mind.

Nosisa said she would always remember her mother's sense of humour. “I will always remember how she spoke isiXhosa, and how she used to call me funny names.”

A neighbour, Nowezile Mfengwana, 94, said after the incident, the community had called a meeting to discuss a way forward as they feared for their lives.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said the police were investigating a case of murder after the body of a woman was found by her daughter at her home in Kusile Street, Lingelethu West, on Saturday.

Van Wyk said the circumstances surrounding her death were under investigation, and that a post-mortem would be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
The body of the 78-year-old Costance Magatya was found inside her house with burn wounds from Khayelitsha B section. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Khayelitsha community police forum (CPF) chairperson Fransina Lukas, who is also a provincial CPF Board chairperson, condemned what she called the brutal attack and killing of Ndlebe.

Lukas said the act was nothing short of barbaric for an elderly mother and grandmother to be killed so brutally. She asked: "What is happening to our humanity and spirit of Ubuntu?"

Lukas said the second pandemic, which was the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide, was still firmly rooted in their communities and it raged on unabated.

“We call on the police to activate its resources to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to book,” said Lukas.

Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation is urged to contact the Crime Stop number 0860010111 or via the My SAPS app.

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