'The way she died is unimaginable': Family, friends on killing of Naledi Phangindawo

Naledi Phangindawo, a mother of two young children, was murdered on Saturday evening.
Naledi Phangindawo, a mother of two young children, was murdered on Saturday evening.
Image: Supplied by SAPS

The gruesome death of Naledi Phangindawo, who was hacked with an axe, has taken a heavy toll on the health of her mother and father.

The 26-year-old was attacked while attending a cultural function at the weekend in KwaNonqaba, Mossel Bay.

She succumbed to her injuries on arrival at hospital, according to her sister, Yashika Phangindawo. 

A 34-year-old man has since handed himself over to police.

“Its difficult. I don’t know how we are coping, or if we are even coping,” said Yashika. 

Naledi leaves behind her family members and three children aged two, four and six.

The murder was a blow to her ageing parents, said Yashika.

“They are old people. This is has hit them very hard. Our mother was admitted to hospital after her blood pressure increased. She also has a heart condition,” she said. 

Their father, a stroke patient, is also not doing well.

“Dad is really weak as well. We suspect the stroke might affect him again,” said Yashika. 

She described her sister as feisty and kind, and a person who greeted and interacted with everyone in the community. 

“She was a people’s person. Anyone can tell you this. She was a hustler. She loved money. She loved singing, even though she didn’t know how.” 

Naledi had ambitions to start her own company so she would not have to work for others for the rest of her life.

“She grabbed opportunities with both hands,” said Yashika. 

“She wanted to have her own businesses, make her own money and take her children to good schools.”  

It was allegedly not the first time she was attacked by the suspect who handed himself over to police. 

“On one occasion he threw an axe at her but missed. On another occasion he threw a 2kg package of frozen meat at her,” said Yashika. 

Yashika said her sister had obtained a protection order against the man.

She said Naledi left Mossel Bay and relocated to another area, but the suspect tracked her down.

Yashika said Naledi was her sister but also her only friend. 

“I am older than her but she would always reprimand me, offer advice and be my shoulder to cry on during difficult times. 

“She was my only friend. I don’t know who I will run to now,” she said.

She said Naledi’s children have been asking about her whereabouts.

The murder sent shock waves through the community, which gathered for a sunset tribute at the weekend. 

A family friend, Dr Bulelwa Nonkonyana, said Naledi's death was tragic.

“The manner in which she died is unimaginable. It is too painful,” she said. 

Nonkonyana had known Naledi since 2009, and they had shared fond memories.

“We spoke every now and again. She was a kind person, outspoken but humble at the same time,” said Nonkanyana. 

“She was a problem solver, someone who refused to give up. Often young people give up when things don’t go according to plan, but Naledi would never,” said Nonkonyana. 

She was employed on a full-time basis but also had a small business on the side. 

Nonkanyana said she hoped the perpetrator would get the harshest sentence possible.

She said she was distraught about not being able to pay her last respects due to the lockdown regulations. 

“The most painful thing is that I can’t even attend her funeral.”

Yashika said funeral arrangements had started and Naledi was expected to be laid to rest on Tuesday. She said the family had been accepting pledges of assistance towards the funeral costs and future of the three children. 

The 34-year-old suspect is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.