Phone call gives family hope

MISSING: Johanna Gumede, Damaries's mother, with a picture of her missing child. Pic: Antonio Muchave. Circa February 2010. © Sowetan


Johanna Gumede. mother  of Damaries, the 10-year-old girl of Rondebult in Ekurhuleni,who went missing six weeks.
MISSING: Johanna Gumede, Damaries's mother, with a picture of her missing child. Pic: Antonio Muchave. Circa February 2010. © Sowetan Johanna Gumede. mother of Damaries, the 10-year-old girl of Rondebult in Ekurhuleni,who went missing six weeks.

THERE was no mistaking the voice on the line: "My name is Damaries Gumede. I am coming home tomorrow."

THERE was no mistaking the voice on the line: "My name is Damaries Gumede. I am coming home tomorrow."

The voice was the answer to Johanna Gumede's prayers - Damaries's mother - who had waited six weeks to hear it.

Ten-year-old Damaries of Rondebult, Ekurhuleni, vanished on January 22 with her neighbour Cristina "Lele" Michel, who had fetched her from Gumede's workplace, ostensibly to braid her hair.

"I was happy and relieved to hear her voice after waiting for several weeks. It was all the assurance I needed that my daughter was still alive and well," Gumede said.

But Damaries's family still anxiously await her return, five days after Michel - calling from Mozambique - promised to send her home.

Gumede's church group also held a service on Sunday to pray for her safe return home.

"We are confident Damaries will be returned to us unharmed. Lele doted on her. We prayed that she would not hurt her," Gumede said.

Damaries was reported missing the day after Michel failed to bring her home. Gumede spent three weeks in Mozambique last month searching for her.

She said speaking to her daughter had helped her regain her strength. She said the family had heard that Michel had abducted children before.

Gumede's eldest daughter Charlotte said Damaries had assured her that Michel had looked after her.

Captain Themba Vezi of the Primrose police station said the police would trace the number from which the call was made.

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