Grade 11 schoolgirl Ayakha Jiyane, who should have been celebrating her 17th birthday on Sunday, was buried alongside her three siblings, after a memorial service at the Copesville Community Hall outside Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
There were loud cries from the mourners as the coffins made their way into the venue, which had about 1,000 people present. These included pupils from Pinetown Girls’ High and Pinetown Boys’ High as well as Sithokozile Secondary School where Xolisile Mpungose teaches.
Kuhlekonke, 4, Khwezi, 6, and Siphesihle Mpungose, 10, were hanged to death by their father at their Wyebank home on Tuesday afternoon. Ayakha, an academic achiever at Pinetown Girls’ High School, went missing after she was fetched from school by her step father Sbu Mpungose.
A manhunt led to a gruesome discovery – her lifeless body near some bushes in New Germany. She had been strangled with the belt of a bathrobe.
Sbu Mpungose was discovered hiding in KwaDebeka by police on Wednesday. Mpungose, 44, was arrested and made a brief appearance in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Friday. The man, who wept often during the short proceedings, was represented by Legal Aid and abandoned his bid for bail. He was remanded in custody and will appear in court next month.