Jodene Pieters grew up in the close-knit community of Bredasdorp. The 17-year-old girl was well known for her strong singing voice and Jodene could belt out gospel songs like a pro. She grew up with her three siblings in the modest home their mother Samantha, a single mom, worked hard to make as comfortable as possible.
Samantha describes Jodene as a “sweet, loving person who is passionate about singing”. Jodene's Uncle Sarel lovingly remembers Jolene's "strong African voice, like Rebecca Malope and all those gospel singers”. Clearly, this young woman had talent by the bucketload. And by all accounts, she was a level-headed, stable person.
So when she told her mother that she was going to the park across the road on a Saturday afternoon and would be back soon, nobody had any reason to suspect that they would never see Jodene alive again.
Jodene's charred body was found at the Cement Dam at P&B Limework in the Overberg town on Sunday, January 21 about 9.30pm. She had been raped, bashed on the head and set alight. Her family had to identify her by an old wound on her leg.
Two suspects, aged 18 and 25, have been arrested for the gruesome crime which threw the community, which was still recovering from the brutal murder of Anene Booysen, into fresh turmoil. Two young women from the same community murdered in the same brutal way was just too much to bear.
While the law has yet to run its course, Samantha says she harbours no ill feelings towards the two young men who took her daughter's life. Both men are known to the family.
Jodene will never celebrate another Women's Month or Christmas. She will never celebrate her 21st birthday, get engaged or be a bride. Jodene's dream of making a name for herself as a singer will never be realised.
For Jodene's sake and the sake of 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.