Kiki’s death may not be in vain

2014-07-14 00:00

BONGIWE Ntuli had to face a horror no parent should ever have to face — the sight of her four-year-old son’s decapitated head lying on a church floor.

But that is the searing memory that Ntuli, from the Ncotshana township in Pongola in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has to live with after her missing four-year-old was found a week ago.

Lungisani ‘Kiki’ Ntuli was kidnapped and brutally murdered last week. The discovery of his dismembered remains in a room at a local church last Saturday sparked a community riot.

To add to the nightmare, images of her son’s dismembered body were displayed on Facebook and other social networks.

Ntuli spoke to The Witness as she mourned her son’s death in her home, alongside her mother and a neighbour who came to comfort her.

“To this day, I wonder what my child did to that person to deserve such a horrible death. I wonder whether he was alive when this was done to him, I wonder whether he was in pain,” she said.

Ntuli told of the day she was informed her child’s remains had been discovered in a church.

“A local councillor came and told us that they had found someone at the church but they requested that a male comes with them. There are no adult males in this family and therefore one of the boys, who is 14 years old, had to go.”

“I insisted that it was my child and I was going to go there and see for myself,” she said.

Ntuli said although she had accepted that her son might be dead, she was not prepared for what she witnessed.

“While I was going there, I thought maybe they had discovered the body near the stream or that my son had drowned, but instead we went to the church.

“And when we got to the church I was told to wait outside. The boy that I was with went inside to identify the remains because he knew my son. When he came out he just stared at me and said he could not explain what he saw inside.

“I then decided to go inside myself and see. The remains which had been in the bag had been put on the floor, and as I looked in, I saw his foot. I knew that foot. I said this was my son.”

She said the people there then decided to turn the head around just to be sure.

“I saw his face and from that moment on I do not remember anything; I was just in a daze.

“To see your own child like that, chopped up like a cow being chopped up [for a feast] was beyond bearable. How could anybody be so cruel and horrible as to do that to a child?”

She said Lungisani was like any other four-year-old. Outside the Ntuli home, his friends played in the sand oblivious to what has happened.

“He loved to play with tyres. I often said to him, ‘You will be a lawyer and you will have your own car, my boy’,” recalled Ntuli.

Lungisani’s name means “fix” and his mother takes some comfort that his death and discovery may answer a terrible mystery that has haunted the area for 20 years.

“For the past 20 years, children have been disappearing in this area, never to be seen again. I named him Lungisani so he has lived up to his name and fixed things; he is the first child to go missing and be found.

“His death has unearthed all the evil that has been happening all this time,” Ntuli said.

His devastated grandmother, MaNtuli, who has lost her only companion, could only plead for the rest of his body to be returned.

“We do not want to have many graves. Can whoever did this return all the missing parts of his body so we can bury our child?”


July 2, Wednesday

Kiki Ntuli was reported missing.


A door-to-door search ensues.


His body is found at St John’s Church.


The community torches the St John’s Church precinct, which includes a clinic and house where the pastor lived. Police arrest 15 suspects. The pastor hands himself over to police at Vryheid.


A woman accused of being involved in selling muthi has her house torched. It turns out she was innocent. The arsonists are arrested.


Calls for 15 suspected arsonists to be released are ignored. The community march to Pongola — stopped one kilometre away by a heavy police presence who threaten to shoot if they do not disperse. By 9 pm they torch and loot the court. Police arrest 10 suspects.

The pastor arrives back in Pongola.


More protests. MEC Sibongseni Dhlomo visits the family. The suspected church arsonists are granted bail.


KZN Cabinet holds a special sitting at the Pongola Magistrate’s Court. Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni is heckled at a community meeting. Bishop Zeblon Nkosi is released from custody after the National Prosecuting Authority decided there was insufficient evidence to charge him with Kiki’s murder.

The investigation continues.

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