Murdered Karabo Mokoena's charred body was found in a shallow grave in Johannesburg. FILE PHOTO: Supplied/ Mokoena's social media
Cape Town - March 27, 2017, was Karabo Mokoena's 22nd birthday and her family tried in vain to get hold of the young model from Johannesburg. Her sister Bontle was stunned when Karabo phoned her the next day and told her she was in hospital. 

"She told me that Sandile had assaulted her. She was all bruised. Her eyes were bruised; her leg was bruised," Bontle would later testify, adding she couldn't get hold of Karabo as her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe had allegedly "smashed" the beautiful young woman's phone. Her family pleaded with her to leave Mantsoe but she was adamant that she loved him.

A month after this incident Karabo again disappeared off the radar. Her frantic family contacted Mantsoe who told them he had no idea where she was. His choice of words to her mother, though, gave a chilling clue to the events which would unfold. "Mamzo, I don't know where she is, but I didn't kill her," Sandile told Lorraine Mokoena. Definitely an odd choice of words for an innocent man.

When Karabo's burned and mutilated body was found on a piece of veld  near Corlett Drive, suspicion immediately fell on Mantsoe. He eventually claimed that he had left her in his apartment and returned to find her lifeless body. According to Mantsoe, Karabo had committed suicide, and he panicked because he knew her family would blame him for her death. So he made a plan. Stuffing her in a wheelie bin, he cold-bloodedly removed all traces of her from his flat.

Mantsoe disposed of Karabo's lifeless body by burning it with a petrol and acid-doused tyre and discarding the remains of his girlfriend in the veld near Sandton.

He was convicted of her murder as well as defeating the ends of justice but for Karabo's family, this was cold comfort. She will never celebrate another birthday. They will never spend another Christmas with their beloved daughter. Karabo's dreams will never be realised.

For Karabo's sake and the sake of young women everywhere, if you know somebody who has committed an act of violence against a woman Don't Look Away
If you know a young woman's life is in danger, Don't Look Away
If you are able to help prevent another tragedy, Don't Look Away.

* Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.