Poppie's dad reveals his daughter's heartbreaking last words to him

By Jana van der Merwe
09 January 2017

The grieving dad shared a recording of the last conversation he ever had with his little girl.

Listening to three-year-old Poppie van der Merwe’s moving recorded conversation with her father is like hearing her speak from the grave, and it gives you an impression of the helpless innocence of the blonde, blue-eyed little girl.

Christo van der Merwe (38), Poppie’s biological father, who lives in Westonaria on the West Rand, recorded the telephone conversation just months before his child’s death in October 2016.

At the time Poppie was living with her mom, Louisa Koekemoer (45) and her stepfather, Kobus (43), in Orania in the Northern Cape. Christo was allowed to phone Poppie and her older brother (5) on Sundays.

Christo van der Merwe, Poppie's father. PHOTO: Supplied Christo van der Merwe, Poppie's father. PHOTO: Supplied

Shortly before Poppie’s alleged murder on Tuesday 25 October they moved to Brits, in North West.

When Christo asks Poppie how she’s doing and what she’s doing during the telephone conversation on 31 July 2016, she eagerly answers, “Watching TV.”

Jacobus Ludick, one of the Justice for Poppie activists, gave the recording to YOU with Christo’s permission.

Read more: ‘I burst into tears when I saw Poppie’s body’: Investigating officer

Although at times it’s difficult to hear what she’s saying in her soft voice, it breaks your heart when Christo asks her if she’s growing nicely and she replies, “Daddy, I’m small . . . I’m the smallest small, yes.”

She then tells her father she wants to sing the song Hansie Slim. “Hansie slim, berg wil klim . . . stok en hoed . . . pas hom goed . . . (Clever Hansie, wants to climb a mountain . . . stick and hat . . . suit him well) ” she sings.

Read more: Spectators hurl insults as Poppie’s mom appears in court over toddler’s brutal murder

The well-known Afrikaans children’s song ends with:

Maar die moederhart is seer, (But the mother heart is sore),

Hans is in die huis nie meer, (Hans is in the house no more),

hoor nou net, moeder sug, (only hear, mother sighs),

hardloop gou-gou terug. (runs quickly back)

But Christo says it’s his father’s heart that has been left broken over his “little girl” whom he will never see again. He feels no sympathy for Louisa and just wants justice to take its course.

The highest court will now try to determine how, months after the telephone conversation, the lively child was allegedly assaulted so badly on a farm near Mamogaleskraal that she died of her injuries that night.

Kobus was the first to be arrested by police. He has been denied bail in the local magistrate’s court.

In a shock twist Louisa was arrested at the end of last year. The couple will now together face a charge of murder when the case comes before the High Court in Pretoria.

Read more: ‘Poppie saved her little brother’, says father of murdered toddler

After her daughter’s death Louisa exclusively gave YOU her version of of the fateful afternoon’s events. She alleged that on the day of her death Poppie had watched TV. According to Louisa, Poppie became tired and fell asleep on the carpet in front of the TV set.

According to Louisa, Kobus was enraged when he arrived home that night with the groceries for their braai and saw Poppie sleeping. Louisa alleged he must have killed her daughter while she and Poppie’s brother were outside fetching the groceries from the bakkie. She alleged that she’d heard nothing.

Louisa and Kobus are expected to appear in court together on 25 January. Louisa still hasn’t succeeded in appealing her failed bail application.

Listen to the moving telephone conversation between Poppie and her biological father:

Here is the full transcript of the call:

Poppie: Hello, Daddy . . .

Christo: Hello, my little girl. Well, and you! What are you doing?

Poppie: I’m watching TV . . .

Christo: Watching TV? That’s lovely my little girl. What else can you tell Daddy?

Poppie: Daddy . . .

Christo: Yes, my little girl?

Poppie: I’m watching TV, Daddy . . .

Christo: Yes?

Poppie: I’m watching TV.

Christo: Oh, are you watching TV?

Poppie: Yes . . .

Christo: Yes, my little girl?

Poppie: Yes . . .

Christo: And are you growing up very nicely?

Poppie: Yes, I’m the smallest.

(Someone coughs in the background)

Poppie: Daddy, I’m small.

Christo: Are your small?

Poppie: The smallest small . . . yes.

Christo: Oh, mmm.

Poppie: Daddy, I want to sing Hansie Slim . . .

Christo: Sing Hansie slim for me.

Poppie: Hansie slim, berg wil klim . . . stok en hoed . . . pas hom goed . . . (inaudible)

Christo: Yesss . . .

Poppie: (inaudible about another song)

Poppie: Daddy, I want to sing (inaudible)

Christo: Okay . . .

(soundbite ends)

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