Murdered Langa woman was rewriting matric

2017-06-02 17:53
Unathi Booi has been murdered. (Supplied)

Unathi Booi has been murdered. (Supplied)

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Cape Town - Last Thursday Cape Town catering assistant Unathi Booi rewrote her matric English exam so that she could finally get the coveted qualification that would give her the edge for her future.

The 33-year-old had come to Cape Town from Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape to improve her education, and had great plans and hopes for herself and her two children Kanya, 14, and Mihlali 5.

Separated from her husband, Booi had one more exam to write to get her outstanding English credit and was living with her aunt and cousins in Langa, a suburb east of the city.

But instead of celebrating her landmark achievement, the only thing left for her family is to arrange her funeral and to conduct the daily grieving rituals that help her shattered family cope with her brutal death.

Shocked residents found Booi's body in an alley on Monday morning as the work commute got underway.

Brutal murder

When she was found, her pants were pulled down, and it looked as though her eyes were gouged out.

At the time, news of the brutal murder of 21-year-old Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius was also spreading.

Cornelius had been chatting in a car with a friend in the early hours of Saturday when they were ambushed. Her friend Cheslin Marsh survived with a head injury, but she was found dead in the nearby winelands.

Since the deaths of 3-year-old Courtney Pieters who disappeared on May 4 in Elsies River, and Karabo Mokoena, who was found dead on April 27 in Lyndhurst, Gauteng, there have been marches, speeches, hashtag campaigns and pleas for the protection of women and children.

But none of this helped Booi or Cornelius.

According to Unathi's cousin, Noluvuyo Booi, the last time the family saw her was when she went out with friends on Sunday.

They went to a pub near her home, which they called ''The Chinese'', to spend the evening socialising.

In the course of the evening they got hungry and went to the one friend's house to have a snack.

'Friend of a friend'

The microwave oven there was not working so her friend went next door to warm up the food, leaving Unathi with the "friend of a friend".

He was supposed to escort her safely to her house.

The next day when she was already at work, Noluvuyo received a call asking if Unathi had come home.

"I told her she never returned home," she said.

The friend called back with the dreaded words: It was Unathi's body which had been found at the place that police had cordoned off.

"I immediately took a taxi back from town to Langa," said Booi. "I asked the taxi to drop me off away from the crime scene, because I didn't want to see anything."

But when she got home, her aunt told her that she had to identify Unathi's body for the police.

When she got to the rubbish-strewn alley at the back of some shops, she was shocked by what she saw.

"The main injuries were around her head and the eyes. There was a lot of blood over her face," said the softly spoken woman.

"The eyes... you could see that something sharp had taken them out."

Her back also had what appeared to be stab marks on it.

"We are broken by the passing of Unathi. It is painful to us. And she was still young," said Booi.


Relatives who had gathered in the front lounge of the house all agreed when Unathi was described as "a nice lady".

Her mother, Welekazi Booi, has died, leaving her father Nyameko Madotyeni with the task of burying her.

News reports had earlier identified Unathi by her father's surname Madotyeni, but her cousins said she carried her mother's surname Booi.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said a 42-year-old man had been arrested in connection with her death, and would appear in Bishop Lavis Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini visited the family on Thursday to offer condolences and support, said Booi, and the minister had indicated that she might join them again on Wednesday when a memorial service is held for her at the nearby high school.

But other than that, the family does not feel that they are receiving much support.

In the meantime, plastic chairs and worn wooden benches were stacked on the veranda outside the house in preparation for the daily ceremonies that her family is conducting, and to receive mourners.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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