Bitter tears for murdered Thato Radebe

Lenyaro Sello

Lenyaro Sello

Pupils from Bedfordview High School in Johannesburg and friends from Emndeni in Soweto wept uncontrollably as Thato Radebe was buried yesterday.

Clad in her school uniform, one girl fell to the ground and screamed: "Thato, Thato why?"

Paramedics were called in to treat scores of pupils who were traumatised by recalling the horrifying manner in which Thato died.

Thato, 14, who was raped, stoned and killed last week, was buried at the Avalon Cemetery in Soweto.

The community was united in grief as pupils from across the townships attended to pay their last respects to the teenager.

Speakers expressed shock and disbelief at the gruesome murder.

"Those responsible do not have respect for human life," said Zuluboy Mhlanga, from Jozi FM.

"We don't blame their parents because no parent wants such behaviour from their children."

Edna Mamonyane, spokesman for the Metro police, advised the community and Thato's family not to take the law into their own hands. "Justice will prevail," she said.

"Remember Thato for how she lived, not how she died," she said.

Thato's best friend, Palesa Zwane, 14, wailed: "God, why did you take her? Why did they have to kill her? What did she do that was so bad that they did that?"

Deputy principal Thomas Mhlanga said: "It's been a very emotional week for the children.

"We hope they will heal with time."

Four suspects arrested in connection with Thato's murder appeared briefly in the Protea magistrates' court in Soweto on Friday and were remanded in custody