My child, mutilated

By admin
26 March 2010

She was rushing around as only a mother can when her daughter is coming to visit. The April school holidays were around the corner and there was still so much to do. She’d stocked up on groceries, had prepared her daughter’s bedroom and was counting the days.

Then on a Wednesday two weeks before the holidays Charlotte Eksteen picked up the phone and called her daughter on a whim. She would not usually do this at nine on a school morning but she called on the off chance. She still doesn’t know precisely why.

Coincidentally Anika Smit (18) was at home with an ear infection and they could have a good chat. Anika had a last request for Charlotte: “Mom, don’t forget to get an extra-large bottle of beetroot salad for me.”

But the visit never materialised. Instead Charlotte, who lives in Mossel Bay, would travel to Pretoria to bury her daughter.

And while Anika’s parents mourned the loss of their darling daughter South Africans recoiled in horror at the brutal way the schoolgirl had been mutilated and killed.

It’s suspected that after chatting so cheerfully to her mom that morning Anika was raped at her home in Theresa Park, Pretoria.

Her body was found with multiple stab wounds – her hands had been hacked off between the wrist and elbow and removed from the scene.

Charlotte has only one message for the killer. “What goes around comes around,” she says when we call at the house Anika shared with her dad, Johan Smit.

“Yes, I’m filled with hate, a bitter rage. But the grief and pain are so much worse.”

When Johan returned home from work that fateful afternoon he was greeted by chaos in the dining room. Chairs had been knocked over and the table moved.

He called Anika, who was in Grade 11 at Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz, but there was no answer. In her bedroom he froze in his tracks at the horror that greeted him.

“The image that stays in my mind is of her naked body in a pool of blood. Her two arms without hands.”

Charlotte shakes her head. Why, she wants to know, did the killer have to hack off Anika’s hands?

Anika’s bedroom door is shut now, as if to keep the horrific memories inside. Beside her door there’s a wall-hanging with a prayer on it: “God, where there is darkness let there be light. Where there is sorrow, joy.”

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