Victims makes history
It took the lives of the victims of alleged racist killings to re-write the history of Swartruggens in the North West.
Until Saturday, no black people had been buried at the Garden of Remembrance cemetery, a municipal graveyard where British, Australian and Afrikaaner soldiers who died during the Anglo-Boer were buried.
The graveyard is commonly known as the Elands River Post Fish Memorial.
In the graveyard are areas reserved for whites and Indians, but none for black people.
History was made on Saturday when Enoch Tshepo Motshelanoka, 10, Anna Moiphitlhi and her three-month-old daughter Keditlhotse Elizabeth, were buried there.
The trio were victims of an apparent racist killing in Skielik when Johan Nel allegedly went on a shooting spree, gunning down four people.
Kgetlengrivier municipality manager Neo Motsatsi-Kalil said a monument would be erected next to the graves of the three.
The fourth victim, Sivuyile Danani, 35, will be buried at his home in the Eastern Cape this week, following his family's request.
Moiphitlhi and the baby, were originally from Zeerust, but their family had agreed they could be buried there.
"We regard the victims as heroes and we want them to be remembered. This was the request of the municipality," said Motsatsi-Kalil.
She said there was nothing sinister about the victims being the first black people to be buried there.
"We have not had requests from black people to bury at the cemetery because there's a graveyard in the township. Our black residents normally bury there," she said.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral, which was run by politicians, with relatives taking a back seat.
Among the dignitaries were North West Premier Edna Molewa and Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
Before the tragic events of two weeks ago, mourners heard how on a normal day, Nel would drive his bakkie into the area from his father's farm to sell chickens.
Sometimes he would agree to give the residents chickens on credit and collect the money at the end of the month.