Does one ever recover after burying a young sibling who was murdered – allegedly by the man she loved?
Everything – places, conversations, quiet moments, struggles – remind Zinhle Tenza of her late sister Ntwentle Sanelisiwe Sibiya, whose life was taken away from her at just 25.
To this day Zinhle says she can not understand why her sister, Ntwentle Sanelisiwe Sibiya – affectionately known as “Sane”, was fatally attacked in such a savage manner.
Photographs of the bloodied bedding in the bedroom, traces of blood in the lounge, and bathroom of the Riversands apartment, which Sane shared with her boyfriend Ziphozethu Shange after the murder are gut-wrenching to look at.
The amount of blood on items found in the closet tells a story of a savage attack.
It is alleged Shange was found playing a game on his PlayStation with Sane lying dead on the floor near a couch.
Shange was arrested on that fateful Friday, on 11 February.
After three brief appearances at the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court, Shange abandoned his bail application.
“It’s been a month but still unbelievable and it still hurts,” says Zinhle.
“It still feels unreal like a dream.”
The family repatriated Sane’s bruised and battered body to her hometown, Pietermaritzburg, where she was laid to rest.
Sane was the last born of Tholakele and Sipho Sibiya. Both her parents died when she was still very young.
Zinhle explains that Sane and herself had the same father but they were born to different mothers.
Their other siblings are Lwazi, Slindile, and Wandile.
After losing her mom Sane had it hard. Things took a turn for the worst when their dad passed away.
Even though life was hard, Sane excelled at school.
“Sane was full of life and very smart at school, the only challenge was growing up without parents,” recalls Zinhle.
As is the case for many, scrolling through messages can bring back memories – some good and some bad.
On Friday Zinhle was going through her messages when she read Sane’s last Whatsapp chat.
“Thinking of going back to school next year. Honestly not happy with myself and being stuck in the same place without any movement empilwen yami [in my life]. I feel like I wasted too much of my time doing nothing🥺 I’m disappointed in myself sis😭.”
The family had been trying for some time to persuade Sane to leave her abusive relationship in Johannesburg and return to the safety of their home in Pietermaritzburg.
“We have tried throughout the years as siblings to support and provide for her, but she always wanted to do her own things with her life,” laments Zinhle.
Jailed Shange is expected back in the Alexandra Magistrate Court on Friday to face a charge of murder – just three days before Human Rights Day.
Like the message, the court appearance will bring back all the memories for friends and family about how Sane’s right to life was taken away.
All the Sibiya family can think of is how Sane must have suffered.
Femicide and child killings continue to plague South Africa.
The latest quarterly crime figures, released last month show that 6 900 people were killed in the period under review – more than 900 were women and around 350 were children.
- Report abuse by contacting your local police station or : SAPS Emergency Services: 10111. Crime Stop, 08600 10111. Domestic violence Helpline: 0800 150 150. Childline: 116.
- National Shelter Movement of South Africa (NSMSA) 24-hour toll-free helpline: 0800 001 005.