Thousands of mourners, including church members, politicians, schoolchildren and ANC Women's League members, gathered at the Great Centenary Hall in Port Elizabeth yesterday to bid farewell to a 60-year-old grandmother and five children who were killed last week.
Three-year-old twins Lathitha and Kwathitha Makuwa and their sister Esethu, 7, Fezeka Kepeyi, 7, and Simamkele Dlokolo, 4, and grandmother Deliwe were all found murdered at their home in Zwide a week ago.
Deliwe was strangled and hit on the head with a sharp object and possibly raped before she was killed in her bedroom.
The children were found on top of each other in a bathtub filled with water.
The funeral service was attended by officials from the provincial government including the MEC for safety and security, Thobile Mhlahlo, education MEC Johnny Makgato and the mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay Nondumiso Maphazi.
Speakers described Deliwe as a "people's person" and church goer who never made anyone angry.
William Hoboshe, a neighbour and cleric, said Deliwe was "one of the community mothers who doesn't deserve to die like an animal".
"What has happened to the Deliwe family is something we used to hear about in the news; something we never thought would come to Nelson Mandela Bay.
"Even animals do not kill each other like this, the humanity is gone from among ourselves," Hoboshe said.
School children and teachers broke down and cried when the coffins were taken into the packed hall.
Teachers who taught the children described them as "sweet angels" and "friendly" children who liked to play with others.
Linda Jonas, grade 2 class teacher for Esethu Makuwa at Garrett Primary School, was overcome with emotion and unable to continue speaking.
Police spokesman Captain Ernest Sigobe said a 31-year-old man had been detained on Friday in connection with the murders.
But had been released on Sunday because he could not be linked to the murders.
Sigobe said police investigations were continuing and that no arrests had been made.