'Bontle's death was not in vain, it opened people's eyes'

Grieving mom speaks about her sorrow

Mandla Khoza Freelance journalist
Permission Seipane, mother of Bontle whose mutilated body was found on May 21.
Permission Seipane, mother of Bontle whose mutilated body was found on May 21.

As the nine-day-old baby Ayabonga suckles, tears from her mother flow as she recalls how she carried her unborn child in her stomach while searching for her then missing first born.

Her six-year-old, Bontle Mashiyane was later found murdered on May 21, three weeks after she had gone missing. 

Nothing could have prepared Permission Seipane for the horror of losing her first born,  while looking forward to welcoming her third child.  Ayabonga was born prematurely at eight months on May 16. Five days later Bontle's mutilated body was found in a shallow grave.

The brutality of Bontle's murder, and the suspects being people known to the family, has shocked the country. 

Speaking for the time to the media since Bontle's body was found, Seipane said she has been having a tough time trying to cope with her loss and that she still harboured anger towards her child's killers. 

Seipane's neighbour Ntombikayise Ngwenya, her boyfriend and serial offender Collen Hlongwane and their friend Thapelo Ngomane, a sangoma, and his son have been charged with Bontle's murder, rape and mutilation.

It's suspected that the incident was also a muti killing. Some of the houses belonging to the suspects have been torched by the community of Mganduzweni, outside Hazyview in Mpumalanga.

“I wish that the people who killed my child can be released and then face the community. They need to be dealt with the best way we know,” said Seipane.

“Since Bontle disappeared I have not been well. I'm still hurting. Her disappearance has caused me so much stress that I believe that I gave birth to Ayabonga Nkosi (thank you Lord) prematurely because I was I stressed. I couldn't believe that I'd give birth to a healthy child, that's how sick I was.”

Siepane's other child is a four-year-girl named Bongiwe. 

“Ayabonga cannot replace Bontle. But I named her Ayabonga to thank God that her sister's death was not in vain and that her arrival has led police to the spot where her sister's body was dumped. Also, Bontle's incident has lifted the lid on the often forgotten crime of muti killings. Bontle did not die in vain. Her passing has opened people's eyes.

“I love Bontle and I sometimes wish I could have died with her.”

Seipane said she knew both Ngomane and Ngwenya and that they spoke to her at the time the community was searching for Bontle. 

“I got shocked when I heard that my child was kidnapped, raped and killed by my neighbours because Ntombi [Ngwenya] is too close to the family and had been someone I'd see every day. She is a woman whom we thought would protect children in this community. Surprise [Ngomane] would greet me and sympathise with us,” said Seipane. 

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