Cape Town – Hundreds of mourners gathered at a memorial service at the Dutch Reformed Church in Fish Hoek to pay their last respects to murdered Maties student, Hannah Cornelius.

The 21-year-old BA student was raped and murdered following a hijacking on Stellenbosch’s main road last Saturday. A male friend, Cheslin Marsh, who was with Cornelius during the ordeal, was badly assaulted but managed to escape from their assailants. Cornelius was cremated on Thursday.

Friday’s memorial was attended by friends, family members, fellow students, and Stellenbosch University Rector Wim de Villiers. Members of the media were not allowed inside the church during the proceedings.

After the service, mourners gathered on the steps of the church and along the side of the road as close to 100 bikers, with white ribbons and balloons adorning their motorbikes, did a drive-by in tribute to the young woman.

Cornelius’s parents were overcome with emotion following the tribute, with her father saluting the bikers with a peace sign as they drove past the church. High school friend Caryn Voortman described Cornelius as “a ray of sunshine who brightened every single day she was alive. She was the purest soul on the planet”.

Fellow student, Ryan de Kwaadsceniet, said: “Hannah did not have one bad bone in her body and I can only honour her memory by remembering all the good things about her.”

Former Stellenbosch mayor, Conrad Sidego, said he came to the memorial as both a concerned citizen and as a parent.

“This child who died and is buried today could have been any child. What is of great concern for me is the fact that we must consider the moral fibre of South Africa because it is breaking down. This is just another example of how our moral fibre is breaking down. Today it’s Hannah Cornelius. A week or so ago it was Courtney Pieters, and some weeks ago it was Karabo (Mokoena) in Johannesburg. We have to do something and our leadership should really take it very seriously.”

Four suspects who were arrested for the rape and murder, appeared in the Stellenbosch Magistrates' Court this week. Eben van Niekerk, 27, Vernon Witbooi, 32, Geraldo Parsons, 26, and Nashwill Julies, 28, will make their next appearance on July 28.