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'A God-fearing, A-grade student': friends and family pay tribute to Precious Ramabulana

Slain student Precious Ramabulana was described as an A-grade student.
Slain student Precious Ramabulana was described as an A-grade student.
Image: @NalediChirwa via Twitter

The family and friends of slain student Precious Ramabulana have described her as a God-fearing, always-smiling and ambitious woman who excelled in her studies.

The 21-year-old was brutally murdered on Sunday, on the eve of the 16 days of activism campaign. She was stabbed several times — reportedly as many as 52 — and died in her dorm room.

After an extensive search, police arrested a 28-year-old suspect at Nyakelang Village, more than 120km away.

Ramabulana's maternal aunt, Rudzani Mashotha, said the family was struggling to come to terms with how she was killed.

“There is only so much she could have done, but to stab her so many times is just heartbreaking. We are shattered, but trying our best to accept it,” she told TimesLIVE.

The final-year student at Capricorn TVET College was described as an A-grade student.

“She has always been smart. She finished high school in record time. Even at college she was doing well, getting distinctions throughout,” said family spokesperson Mavis Sitholimela.

Her lecturer, Stephen Mashitisho, shared similar sentiments.

“I'm lost for words. She was one of my brightest students. She loved education; she performed very well.

“She had a great attitude towards life and someone foolish and horny just had to snatch the life out of this beautiful and dedicated creature,” he wrote on Facebook.

Mashotha said the family was devastated that Ramabulana had become a statistic — yet another victim to the scourge of gender-based violence in SA.

“We hear about women getting raped, stabbed and even killed daily, and it's painful. But one does not really think she is next. We never thought it would happen to her too,” she said.

She said Ramabulana’s future looked bright, to the point that she aspired to change her family’s circumstances.

Her mother, Peggie Ramabulana, was unemployed and surviving on a disability grant, while her father was dead.

“She was our hope. She always expressed her dreams of changing her families life. We were certain that she would make it big in life because she was very disciplined and God-fearing,” said Mashotha.

Meanwhile, a neighbour, Innocent Tshivase, said she was shocked to  learn of her death. She described the slain student as “humble, respectful and dedicated prayer warrior”.

Ramabulana’s death has made headlines and sparked outrage as well as calls for men to stand up against gender-based violence.

“We can no longer pay lip service on these issues. The CGE is calling on men and boys to stand up against gender violence. We are also warning various institutions that we will be demanding accountability on matters of gender violence and ultimately compliance and commitments to achieving gender transformation in tertiary institutions,” said the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) in a statement.

Ramabulana is expected to be laid to rest at her home in Paradise Maname, Limpopo, on Friday.