TRAGIC END: Maria Shivambu. Cicra 2008. Pic. Unknown
TRAGIC END: Maria Shivambu. Cicra 2008. Pic. Unknown

Benson Ntlemo

A Limpopo woman allegedly doused herself with paraffin and set herself alight because she was reportedly tired of being abused by her own son.

Before her death she had accused the police of not doing anything to protect her from her abusive son.

Both Inspector Alson Mapindane, the Malamulele police spokesman, and Captain Abel Chauke, the station commissioner, refused to comment on the matter, saying they were not at work.

Finally Khubani Maria Shivambu, 48, a mother of four, had decided to take her own life because she was allegedly frustrated. She was unemployed.

She was found burning by a local headman and her 12-year-old daughter Queen outside Mabayeni village near Malamulele at the weekend.

It is alleged that on the fateful day she sent her last-born daughter to buy three litres of paraffin. She claimed she wanted to use the paraffin to check if some of the lamps were still working.

When the young girl returned with the paraffine she found her mother busy packing her clothes. She sent the girl to fetch some fruit for her from another household in the village.

But the girl became suspicious and alerted local headman Pieter Macebele.

The distraught girl said she later saw her mother heading for a nearby bush.

When she and Macebele followed to investigate, they were shocked to find her in flames. The woman had doused herself with the paraffin and set herself ablaze.

"On realising that it was her mother burning the girl cried hysterically, collapsed and fainted," Macebele said.

He said it was an experience he would never forget for as long as he lived.

"The woman was burning and only part of the legs could be recognised. The whole body was burnt to ashes," Macebele said.

The dead woman's sister, Khubani Moyana, said she was disappointed with the police.

She said her brother, named Last, always demanded money from their mother to buy dagga, and alcohol. If she refused he would beat her up.

Shivambu will be buried on Saturday in the village.