Cape Town – Family and friends gathered in Soweto on Saturday morning to mourn the loss of UJ student Palesa Madiba, whose bones were found three years after she went missing.
Her relatives described her as a “bright, spirited and intellectual young woman but equally respectful”, in a booklet handed out at the memorial service.
It started at 09:00 at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg (UJ). A private burial would take place afterwards.
“She genuinely loved people – her heart-melting smile was testimony to this. She loved her studies and she was a massive Orlando Pirates FC and Barcelona FC supporter,” her obituary read.
Madiba was born in Diepkloof, Soweto, on November 7, 1992. She enrolled for a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting at UJ in 2011.
She went missing on August 9, 2013. She had spent the weekend at a friend's house in Phiri and was expected home in Diepkloof on the Monday evening.
Her remains were found on December 16 when police received an anonymous tip-off. Her body was buried in the backyard of her friend’s home in Phiri, where she was last seen.
Her obituary stated that she loved ballroom dancing and played volleyball, netball and tennis.
She is survived by her mother, six sisters and two brothers. Her family thanked everyone for their support.