Killings of women painful reminder for Bhamjee

2017-06-11 15:58
Chairperson for the Health Committee at the Provincial Legislature, Yusuf Bhamjee.

Chairperson for the Health Committee at the Provincial Legislature, Yusuf Bhamjee. (Ian Carbutt)

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Brutal killings of young women that have shocked the country recently serve as a “tragic reminder” to the Bhamjee family of their own loss.

The family is still looking for closure following the death of well-known gynaecologist Dr Sabera Bhamjee.

They were reflecting while the country mourned the deaths of Karabo Mokoena, who was killed and burned before being dumped in Johannesburg, and three-year-old Courtney Pieters, who was poisoned and raped before her attacker broke her bones and dumped her in the veld last month.

Best friends Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe’s bodies were also found last month in Soweto and Tladi respectively.

These are just some of the crimes that have shaken South Africans in recent times.

More than a decade has passed and the Bhamjee family are still searching for answers after the brutal murder of the award-winning gynaecologist.

Bhamjee, wife of former uMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, was stabbed more than 60 times in her room in the St Anne’s Medical Centre on June 2, 2006, while she was alone during lunch time.

Now, after years of police investigations and wild goose chases, the well-loved doctor’s killers are yet to be arrested.

Speaking to Weekend Witness, Bhamjee said the manner in which women are brutalised sends a “shiver down my spine”.

“It serves as a gruesome reminder of the tragedy my family had to endure,” he said.

Bhamjee said he identified with the families of those women who were violently killed in the last few months in the country.

“We will not heal until we find that closure we are looking for and I feel what those families are going through,” Bhamjee said.

In a previous article, the ANC stalwart spoke to Weekend Witness about how he and his daughters, Suhayfa and Sameera, still search for closure.

“The worst is when people ask me if any arrests have been made. I know they ask out of concern but it just brings back so many memories of a terrible time in our lives and it is a painful exercise to tell them nothing has happened,” said Bhamjee.

He described his late wife as a humble, timid and petite woman who was very decisive and principled in her life.

“It is hard to imagine who would want to do this to her. One thing that keeps our family going are the wonderful memories she left us with.”

Bhamjee reminisced about his daughters’ weddings, which he said were probably the final most memorable and happy moments they shared.

He and his wife shared a very close relationship, having courted each other for seven years before getting married in 1977.

“She was a wonderful wife and mother. She was also well-loved by the community and delivered many babies. She left her mark and it showed in the way the community supported us through the years,” he said.


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