Newlyweds slain in robbery

2015-01-18 06:00

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At about midnight on Thursday, newlyweds Wamukelwa Memela and Wendy Campbell were awoken by intruders in their Bryanston home.

Minutes later the 29-year-olds were dead – they were tied up and strangled before their killers fled the scene with electronic devices from the couple’s home.

Wamukelwa’s father, spokesperson for the national department of arts and culture Sandile Memela, said the family was distraught even though they knew crime was rife in South Africa.

“But you never think it will happen to you,” he said.

The couple had been married for a month.

Memela said the police investigation suggested that the intruders had broken in, gone upstairs and got into a scuffle with his son.

It appears Wamukelwa was hit on the head with a garden tool, dragged back into the bedroom and tied up alongside his wife with electrical cords.

The intruders then ransacked the house. But instead of fleeing with their loot, they murdered the couple.

During the commotion, Memela’s cousin – who lives in a cottage on the premises – heard noises, but thought the two were arguing. He went back to sleep.

“[The cousin] told me that when he woke up to go into the house, he saw that the electronic items were missing,” said Memela.

“He then saw the blood and rushed into the main bedroom where he was confronted by the bodies.

“He first thought they were unconscious, but found they were dead.”

Memela said he and his son had spent all day together last week setting their goals for this year.

He said his son was a passionate and humble man who had a bright future ahead of him.

In 2003, he had won a chefs’ competition that allowed him to represent South Africa in the US and in China. He returned home and opened his own catering company in 2006.

“He could show what the youth of this country was capable of. He was a symbol of black excellence. He opened his own company at a young age and also wanted to open a cooking school and empower others,” said the father.

Memela’s fondest memories of “Chef Wamu”, as he called his son, was of Christmas, when the young man would invite his mother, Busisiwe Mashiane-Zuma’s family and his father’s relatives to dine together.

“He loved to bring people together and he did that for us this Christmas,” said Memela.

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