'If a man slaps you once, run': MEC's warning at murdered doctor's memorial

Shongile Nkhwashu's death - allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend - shocked her colleagues and provincial health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba, who warned women never to tolerate abuse from a partner.
Shongile Nkhwashu's death - allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend - shocked her colleagues and provincial health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba, who warned women never to tolerate abuse from a partner.
Image: Via Twitter/@PhophiRamathuba

Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba told mourners at a memorial service for a murdered intern doctor that no one should turn a blind eye to abuse.

Shongile Nkhwashu started her internship at Mankweng Hospital in January - but her decomposing body was found in a locked room at the doctor's residence on Sunday evening.

“Once he starts abusing, he will never stop. When he slaps you the first time, run for your life,” said Ramathuba.

The MEC used the memorial service, held at Mankweng Hospital nursing college, to emphasise the dangers of staying in an abusive relationship because of a fear of being alone.

“Let’s not define the success of a girl child through that. You may not be in a relationship or married but at least your life will be restored. The scourge of violence is out of control,” she said.

The MEC said that when she visited Nkhwashu's family, her father said a man had been assaulting her for some time and though he reported this, the abuse continued.

Her plea to mourners was that whenever a woman spoke of her experience, “believe her, because if you don’t, we will find ourselves where we are. Don’t turn a blind eye, report abusers.”

The passing of Nkhwashu sent shock waves across the country.

Her funeral will be held this weekend in Giyani, Limpopo.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said a suspect, who allegedly confessed to the crime, had been arrested.

Ntiyiso Xilumani, 25, appeared at the Makweng magistrate's court this week.

A person visiting the hospital last Sunday reported a bad smell coming from the rooms.

“The police were then called and the door was broken open. The deceased was found lying on her bed. She was already in the early stage of decomposition,” Mojapelo said earlier in a statement.

“The police immediately commenced with investigations and the suspect, who is believed to be the deceased’s boyfriend, was traced and arrested in Giyani.”

Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba addressing mourners during the memorial service of Dr Shongile Pretty Nkwashu at Mankweng...

Posted by LIMPOPO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (BOPHELONG) on Thursday, January 23, 2020

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.