Luyanda Mhlongo‚ 14‚ took her last laboured breaths in a plantation - a stone’s throw from her home in Elokishini near Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal – strangled to death after she was brutally gang raped.
Fourteen-year-old Luyanda Nsele was a Grade 8 pupil at Gcwalulwazi High school and she went missing last Friday.
Police found Nsele's body dumped near her school with multiple stab wounds and a preliminary report has revealed that she had also been gang-raped.
Her grandfather Nkanyiso Mhlongo says they are shocked by the killing of their granddaughter.
“The extended family is also in shock by the manner in which she was killed. We really don't know how it happened. We were informed that she had been killed. We are still distraught.”
The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal has pledged full support for the family.
Speaking at a memorial service at the school, MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane said the incident had shocked them and police had given them assurances that the perpetrators would be brought to book.
“They don't happen in the premises of the school, but they happen within the society. So, we are calling upon the society to rise up and stand to fight these social ills. This learner came from school, went back home, during the course of the day she disappeared. We are saying, as the Department of Education in KZN, the society has a bigger role to play.”
Nsele's killing comes hot on the heels of yet another learner who was killed in almost similar fashion in the Dinuzulu Township.
The body of a school boy Menzi Mthimkhulu, aged 15, from Prince Zwelithini High, was found dumped in a sugarcane plantation and he was stabbed in the chest.
A matriculant Nothando Cele from Bhamshele near oThongathi, north of Durban was also hacked to death.
Another school girl from KwaXimba, Mbalenhle Magcaba, was also raped before being killed and her body dumped in nearby bushes in the area.
Dlungwane has expressed his concern about these incidents. “We are very saddened by these deaths. To us, one death is one too many because this girl, at the age of 14, would have been something in the country; would have contributed in the economy, building the country. So, the loss of one learner is one too many.”
Only one suspect has been arrested in connection with the four learners' killings since the beginning of May.
There has been a spate of horrific crimes against women and children in recent weeks.