‘Pray I come back alive’

2012-07-04 00:00

TWELVE-YEAR-OLD Ayanda Sibiya left her Sweetwaters home wanting to protect her one-day old sister from evil spirits.

Eleven days later she was found murdered and mutilated.

Her father, David Zuma (48), found Ayanda’s body with her hands and feet bound with a rope.

The Witness was present yesterday when Zuma, the child’s uncle, Sphamandla Sibiya (26), and close family friend, Mzokhona Sibisi (32), discovered her body in a water tank at a local church.

This was after Sibisi had been to Durban to consult a sangoma from Gingindlovu earlier yesterday at the family’s request.

Zuma said Sibisi had told him that the sangoma had indicated Ayanda had been killed, and that she was tied up.

“The sangoma told him that we must look for her in a water tank at a church facing the family home. There is only one church here, and it is facing the family home,” Zuma said.

When police pulled Ayanda’s lifeless body of the tank, the crowd that had gathered cried out in disbelief when it was discovered that her eyes had been gouged out.

Ayanda went missing in bizarre circumstances from her home in Mbutshane, Sweetwaters, almost two weeks ago.

After her disappearance, her parents found a letter addressed to her family. The letter, in her handwriting and read to The Witness by her mother Ntombenhle Sibiya (32), states: “I don’t want to put bad spirits into the new baby.”

She then directs her family to look for her at a bridge in Ashburton.

“Wait for me there because I won’t be able to come back on my own because it is far. Pray that I come back alive,” she wrote in Zulu and English. In it, she also thanked her “uncle” (Sibisi) for being in her life.

“If I don’t make it, please don’t leave my family. Mama, please don’t go to izinyanga [herbalists] and prophets. They want to steal your baby,” she continued.

“Mom, you’ll always be the best. I’ll always love you,” Ayanda wrote.

Her father and uncle told of how Ayanda sometimes had strange dreams, and would collapse.

Some time ago she had spent eight months living with a sangoma in Mbutshane after her family had decided she needed help. However, they fetched her when she hurt herself, said her uncle, Sphamandla Sibiya. When she returned home, she still wasn’t fully well.

“Two months ago, she’d find herself in her parent’s bedroom and would say that short people had carried her out of the house, and couldn’t get her over the gate,” he said.

They never took her back to the sangoma, but rather prayed for her at church.

He went on to say that the family was not sure how she went missing, and did not believe the contents of the letter.

“It is a load off the family’s back now that she has been found,” said Sphamandla.

Zuma added: “We’d looked for her all over. We did not believe what was written in the letter.”

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that the body of Ayanda had been found in Mbutshane, Sweetwaters.

“The deceased had an open wound in her head and her hands were tied. The motive of the killing is unknown at this stage,” said Zwane.

Plessislaer police are investigating a case of murder.

No arrests have been made.

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