Previledge Mabvongwe Photo: Supplied

The families of murdered children Oyingcwele Zokufa, 2, and Previledge Mabvongwe, 9, are preparing to travel to their homelands in the Eastern Cape and Zimbabwe to bury them. 

A local community hall in Philippi was packed to capacity yesterday as the family gave residents and friends of Oyingcwele a chance to say their final farewells at a memorial service.

The body of the 2-year-old was found on Thursday along the N2, buried in a shallow grave in bushes. 

His uncle, Sikelela Zokufa, said the 32-year-old man arrested was the boyfriend of the Oyingcwele mother’s cousin. The man apparently led police to where he had buried the child.

Zokufa believes the suspect abducted the child while playing outside.

“We believe the man might have done what he did out of jealousy, because the cousin had ended the relationship. He must have thought she had found a new man, but even so we don’t understand why he killed her cousin’s child. 

“I loved Oyingcwele like my own child. It is sad that the chance of seeing him growing up has been taken away from us,” Zokufa said.

He said residents who assisted in the search approached the family on Saturday and asked to have the memorial service.

“That’s how much he was well known and loved. The tragedy touched many people. He was the light of our lives, a happy child who loved people. 

"The memorial service also sparked topics of gender-based violence, what could be done by men to educate other men to create safe environments for children. The funeral will be held in Idutywa, Eastern Cape, tomorrow,” said Zokufa.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court today on charges of abduction and murder.

Richard Mabvongwe, uncle to 9-year-old Previledge, whose body was found near a dump site in Sam Jokozela, Avenue, Bloekombos, on Thursday, said the family were busy fixing documents so her niece could be buried back at home in Zimbabwe.

The Grade 3 pupil from Scottsville Primary school was last seen on Monday on her way home from school.