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Murdered Gabisile Shabane's twin says life will never be the same

Khanyisile Shabane tells high court Gabisile's mother would 'stay up all night so that if criminals came back, they would find us ready'

Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old nephew were kidnapped and murdered in a muti-related killing in January 2018.
Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old nephew were kidnapped and murdered in a muti-related killing in January 2018.
Image: SAPS

The twin sister of Gabisile Shabane — the girl with albinism who was murdered for her body parts — on Wednesday told the court how painfully different life has been for her and her family since her sibling's killing.

Gabisile was kidnapped in January 2018 from their home in Hlalanikahle in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank). She was 13. She was murdered by a group of men — among them a traditional healer — who wanted to harvest her body parts to create powerful muti that they believed would make them rich.

Khanyisile Shabane’s statement was entered into evidence by the state in the high court sitting in Middelburg on Wednesday during the mitigation and aggravation of sentence proceedings of the three men who were earlier found guilty of killing Gabisile and Khanyisile's 15-month-old nephew, Nkosikhona Ngwenya.

Ngwenya was mistaken for another child living with albinism in the same house. When the kidnappers realised they had taken the wrong child, they tossed Ngwenya over bridge on the N4, leaving him to drown in a swamp.

In her statement, Gabisile’s twin sister, Khanyisile, who does not have albinism, said the two were best friends who did everything together. They were excited about starting high school together.

“But we only went to high school together for a week because a cruel person decided to kill her,” said Khanyisile. “Since I did not have friends, I had to start making friends. I had to start socialising with people that I was not used to.”

She explained how the murders had been hardest for their mother, Anna Shabane, who, according to Khanyisile, had to learn to live without Gabisile but also be strong for the rest of the family. She struggled to eat and sleep — something that broke her heart to see.

My mother would stay up all night so that if criminals come back, they would find us ready.
Khanyisile Shabane 

“Even at night, she was not sleeping. She would stay up all night so that if criminals came back, they would find us ready,” said Khanyisile.

She said learning to live without Gabisile had been hard and that focusing at school was also tough.

“I don’t know what my sister did to them for them to kill her so brutally because she was so kind and caring, but I hope that the law will play its part,” Khanyisile said.  

The now 16-year-old sat in the courtroom as her statement was read by state prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni.

The accused in the case — traditional healer Thokozani Msibi, Knowledge Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize — were found guilty of housebreaking, pointing a firearm at two of the family members, kidnapping Gabisile and Nkosikhona, murdering both the children and  violating Gabisile's corpse. 

The group pleaded not guilty and asked for the court's mercy. 

Proceedings continue. 

TimesLIVE


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