Cape Town – A memorial will be held today at Northwood Primary School in Woodlands, Mitchells Plain, for murdered Grade 7 pupil Janika Mello.
After a visit from Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo yesterday, who visited the scene of the crime along with the principal, the school said on social media: "It was a truly heartbreaking experience and counselling is being provided to the bereaved family members after this event.
"We ask you to keep the family members, community and school community in prayer during this time.
"We have been shook (sic) and saddened to our core by this senseless and gruesome act of violence against one of our own learners!
"We have started collecting canned food items and any items that will be of use to the family and appeal to the community to donate, if you are able to.🙏🏽
"Let's all stand together and fight against hate, violence, rape and injustices against women and children!"
The memorial for the 14-year-old Janika is being held on the same day as 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana and 19-year-old UWC student Jesse Hess are being commemorated after their violent deaths.
Janika Mello Photo: Supplied
Protests are also being held at the World Economic Conference in the CBD and at Parliament.
Janika's half-naked body was discovered in her grandmother’s backyard in Heinz Park in Philippi on Sunday.
Heinz Park youth leader Tashreeq Perry said today Janika’s family was broken following her rape and murder, EWN reported.
“I spoke to her father (Marlon Koopman). I asked him how he was handling it. He couldn’t speak. Tears rolled down his eyes. He was crying.”
Perry said they were shocked at the brutal manner in which she was killed.
“No person deserves to die this way. Whoever did this has no respect for human lives.”
The primary school pupil was last seen leaving to attend an event in Mitchells Plain on Saturday. It's believed a taxi dropped her and another young person back in Heinz Park in the early hours of Sunday, the Daily Voice reported.
Janika, who lived with her mother, Janine Mello, 31, was found with her head bashed in and “her brain leaking” from the left side of her face, covered with a pink baby blanket, at 8.17am by family members.
Her pants had been pulled down and it is alleged she had been raped before being bashed with a concrete block over the head.
Koopman, 38, who lives in Crossroads, said: “Her face was beaten in with a big brick. I think she was made unconscious and then they raped her.
"Her dungarees were around her ankles. Her chest was covered, but she was naked otherwise.”
Janika's traumatised mother recalled her last interaction with her daughter at about 6pm on Saturday, after they had had an argument.
“I smacked her in her face and told her she cannot go to the soccer club’s event in Portland and that was the last I saw her alive.
“The last thing I gave my child was a smack across her face. She was on her way home as far as I know when last I heard from her and her friends.”