SOWETO,South Africa– A Protea Glen, Soweto, family is mourning the death of their daughter who was found dead at a nearby playground on Monday.
Phuthi Ramara, 21, has become the latest victim of gender-based violence during the UN-led 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children.
South Africa has participated in the campaign, which ends on Thursday, for the past 22 years.
The naked body of Phuthi, a second- year law student from the University of Johannesburg, was found in a playground in Protea Glen Extension 31 on Monday morning by a jogger.
According to the family, police told them that Phuthi was beaten, raped and strangled to death with her pants.
Phuthi’s grandmother, Agnes Ramara – who raised and lived with Phuthi – said she was devastated by the loss of her grandchild who had a lot to live for.
“I’m going to miss her a lot. I don’t understand what she ever did to those people. They could have just hurt her, at least that way she could have gone to the hospital and come back. Not for them to kill her like that. She was a good child, I never had to reprimand her for anything. I have lost a lot, they have killed me,” the grandmother sobbed.
According to family representative Carol Hlongwane, the family did not know that Phuthi was missing until her cousin and a friend came on Monday afternoon to look for her.
Hlongwane said: “We had heard and seen news circulating on social media about a body found at extension 31, but we did not think it could be Phuthi. It was only when her cousin and a friend came to check in the afternoon to fetch Phuti’s mother and took her to the police station.”
The family told The Star that Phuthi’s friends said when they left the neighbourhood house they had visited on Sunday night, they were in company of “three guys” known to them. One of the men got them a lift home. It is alleged that Phuthi refused to take the lift and opted to walk home. That was the last time she was seen alive.
Phuthi was identified by her tattoo of a tiger on her neck, a flower tattoo on her right leg and her name on her hand
Phuthi’s mother, Sibongile Ramara, was at pains to describe to The Star how she was feeling.
“I don’t know what to say, I’m really hurt. My daughter was a lovely child. She was very friendly and was always smiling. She did not like conflict and would keep to herself.
“She was a happy child that loved fashion and her tattoos,” the mother said.
The family described Phuthi as an ambitious young girl who had plenty to live for.
“She was fun and full of life, for as long as I can remember she always wanted to be a lawyer and help people and the community,” the mother added.
Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said police were investigating the matter.
Makhubele appealed to the public to assist the police with information.
Meanwhile, a Middleburg High Court judge sentenced a man to life on Tuesday for stabbing his girlfriend to death in a bus early this year.
The judge, referring to the 16 Days of Activism campaign, said the initiative was simply not enough, and that people should work throughout the year to eradicate this type of violence, which was so prevalent in the country.
Titus Mtitos Thabo, 28, stabbed his girlfriend, Portia Phindile Mahlangu, in a moving bus with several commuters watching in horror.
The couple were not married but have two children together.
On January 16, Mahlangu was on a bus with Thabo when an argument broke out.
Thabo took out a knife and stabbed Mahlangu several times on her neck.
The bus driver tried in vain to stop Thabo after stopping the bus.
The court heard how Thabo dragged Mahlangu out of the bus and continued stabbing her. She later died of her injuries, and Thabo fled the scene on foot.