Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

It was a sad moment when the two small coffins of little girls aged one and three were lowered into a grave at Avalon Cemetery.

On Friday neighbours and family stood in shock and disbelief as the young father of the two girls, Londiwe and Samkelisiwe, broke down and cried.

But the mother of the girls, Shirley Obose, 20, was not there to say goodbye to her daughters.

She is recovering in the intensive care unit at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital.

On Monday last week Jacob Zulu, Obose's father, made a gruesome discovery when he returned home from the shops.

He found his daughter and her two children groaning in pain.

After calling for help, Zulu took the three to a nearby fire station.

Arriving at the fire station at 6pm, Obose and her two daughters were unconscious and foaming at the mouth.

Londiwe and Samkelisiwe were pronounced dead after paramedics tried for 15 minutes to resuscitate them.

It is suspected that the mother prepared a drink mixed with aldicarb, also known as "two-step", drank some and gave the rest to her daughters.

This was after she had allegedly had an altercation with the father of her children.

Aldicarb is found in temik, an illegal substance generally used to kill rats. A teaspoon of aldicarb is toxic enough to kill a grown rhino.

But the mourners at Shirley's home insisted on forgiving the young mother and accepting her back into the community.

"We might rebuke her for what she did but let's forgive her and give her a chance to start her life all over again," said one of the speakers.

Proceedings were disrupted when Buyile asked to see his daughters for the last time.

The young Wits University student then burst into tears, releasing emotions that had been silenced by church hymns.

Sowetan has also learnt that Obose had tried to abort her youngest daughter by overdosing on pills when she was three months pregnant.

She was unsuccessful and spent a week in hospital.

Sumayya Ebrahim, an expert in post-natal depression, said Obose's actions might have been caused by severe depression.

"She was not suffering from post-natal depression but might have had a long, severe depression that went unnoticed by people around her," she said.