She spoke about her life, and encouraged women in similar situations to speak to their children. Last year, the movie The Ellen Pakkies Story was released, depicting her life.
Pakkies said: “At the age of 29 I was raped. I later ran away from home and got into prostitution. I never knew what it was like to be a child, and left school in Standard 2. I was married four times, and my third child was born after I was raped. All three of my children are on drugs.
“But I am thankful to the Lord. Life was hard, but I picked myself up every time. Everyone only knows me as the woman who strangled her son. But I am also a mother...
“In our communities you find that as women and mothers we put each other and our children down. This is how we destroy communities. We need to encourage and build each other up,” she said.