Last week Pietermaritzburg woman Nompilo Madondo was on cloud nine.This coming Saturday, she was set to be unified with her long-term fiancé at a traditional umembeso ceremony that forms part of the lobola negotiations.But days before the big day, the unthinkable happened and the mother of one child was strangled to death.Madondo’s body was found in her flat at the Aloe Ridge housing complex last Thursday, covered with a blanket.A case of murder was registered at the Alexandra Road police station. No arrests have been made yet.The gruesome discovery was made by Madondo’s cousin and a neighbour at about 1 pm.Speaking to The Witness on Tuesday, Madondo’s distraught mother, Zodwa, said she became suspicious when she could not reach her daughter on the phone last Tuesday afternoon.Zodwa said when she could not reach her daughter on the phone, she contacted the man who many now believe attacked her daughter. He told her that Nompilo had gone to church.Zodwa said last Tuesday the man said Nompilo had gone to church, and when the family contacted him again the following day, he told them she had gone to Durban.“On Wednesday night he told us that my daughter was in Durban. He said she had called earlier in the day to tell him she lost her phone.“He told me that Nompilo was coming back to Pietermaritzburg on Thursday morning,” said Zodwa.But last Thursday, when Zodwa tried to call her daughter, she was still unreachable. She then became suspicious and asked a relative to go and investigate.“Our worst nightmare came true,” said Zodwa.Madondo’s clothed body was found wrapped in a blanket where she lay on her back in the middle of her bed. The family believes that she had been dead for at least two days when she was found.“When the relatives arrived at the flat, the door was blocked with a fridge to prevent entry and they could not get in. We are not sure how he [her assailant] managed to escape. The relative knocked on the window but there was no response. Together with the police, they had to forcefully enter the flat.”Zodwa shared the flat with her three-year-old daughter.“We found the child at a neighbour’s flat. The neighbour told us that she had been looking after the child for two days unaware of my daughter’s whereabouts.“The neighbours said they last saw my daughter and this man last Tuesday. It’s an absolute tragedy. It’s unfortunate that her child will now grow up without her mother,” she said.Zodwa said her daughter’s cell phone was found next to the body. All incoming calls had been blocked.“As far as we know, they didn’t have any problems. The man had complained that my daughter was spending a lot of time at church, but I thought they had found a way to resolve that,” said the mother.“It’s painful that he killed my daughter and still had the guts to lie to me when I called him. What am I supposed to tell my grandchild when she asks me where her mother is?“We are all still very shocked. She was very excited — as we all were and looking forward to her umembeso day. It was all she spoke about in the past few weeks.“It is heart-breaking that we are now making preparations for her funeral.”Two years ago, Madondo won a medical negligence case against the KZN Health Department after suffering injuries as a result of neglect while she was at a local clinic.