Johannesburg - Three-year-old Siphosethu* used to love to sing and pray. He would interrupt his grandmother in the kitchen while she was cooking and tell her to leave the pots to join him.

“We would pray for the sick and he would call himself a preacher. He was a little angel,” said Mary Ndaba*, 63.

Siphosethu will no longer disturb his grandmother now because he was laid to rest on Wednesday after his mother allegedly strangled him to death two weeks ago.

His mother also attempted to kill his older sister, Zandile*, 4, and tried to commit suicide thereafter.

On the night of Monday, September 24, Siphosethu and Zandile’s mom had decided to sleep with her children in the dining room of the Orlando East home they shared with Ndaba.

“I didn’t have a problem with it, or question it because it’s just the four of us in the house. Her siblings live in the rooms outside,” said Ndaba.

At around 2am the following morning, Ndaba heard a loud thump coming from the dining room as if something had fallen.

“When I went to check what happened, my daughter had pulled the blanket over her head. When I pulled it off, I saw a rope around her neck,” she said.

Ndaba then went to call her oldest daughter, Sibongile, to come and help. Her daughter, who had failed in a suicide attempt, was quiet the entire time Ndaba was questioning her.

“She then quietly said she had something to tell us and when I asked what it was, she told us that Siphosethu had died,” she said.

Ndaba and her other daughter jumped in shock and looked at the boy, who they thought was asleep.

Siphosethu had dark marks around his neck. Sibongile called the police. Zandile is afraid and on edge now.

“You can’t just touch her when she’s unaware,” she said.

Ndaba said her daughter had some problems with her wellbeing from time to time, but she was a good child. “I’m still trying to understand why she did it. As her mom, I’m saddened.”

Ndaba said Zandile would be taken to a social worker to help her through the ordeal.

Orlando East police spokeswoman Captain Nomvula Mbense said the mother had been arrested and charged with murder.

* Not their real names

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The Star