Single mother Noxolo Xakeka was well-liked by her neighbours in the Lwandile informal settlement in Strand. The 23-year-old mother lived with her six-year-old son and her partner. Noxolo worked hard because she also had to support her parents in the Eastern Cape.
Despite the burden of being the sole breadwinner for an extended family Nox, as she was popularly called, always had a smile and a kind word for her friends and neighbours. According to her friends, she was sometimes called Dr Phil because of the good advice she was always dispensing.
Nox's cousin Nokhuthula Ntlazana said "she held the family together. She was an independent and strong-willed woman." So, of course, nobody would have expected that this popular, level-headed woman's life would be brutally cut short while everyone around her was celebrating the start of a new year.
On New Year's Day, Nox had joined a celebration at a neighbour's home. Everyone was having a great time until one young man started insulting Nox because she was a lesbian. Despite fighting back, Noxolo was harassed, called names and assaulted before being stabbed to death.
The murder case is still ongoing and while we hope that there will be justice for Noxolo, her loved ones have to face the reality of a future without the mother, partner and daughter they loved and respected.
Noxolo will never get to celebrate another Women's Month, birthday or Christmas with her family. She will never see the dreams she had for herself and for her son fulfilled. She won't be there when he finishes school or to guide him into adulthood.