Gomolemo Legae dreamt big, she dreamt of fame and a rap collaboration with Cassper Nyovest, and her family knows that making news headlines as a gender-based violence statistic never crossed the teenager’s mind.
“The only news headline she imagined was that of herself as a big-shot model and musician, nothing else. I looked at her empty bed last night and accepting that she is really gone is a bitter pill to swallow.
Gomolemo's aunt, Gadifele Mashetla
“The brutal and callous manner in which she was robbed of her precious life makes it even harder,” said Legae’s teary-eyed aunt, Gadifele Mashetla.
This was a day after 18-year-old Legae was laid to rest in Seweding village in Mahikeng, North West, on Wednesday.
The family said they decided to bury her just three days after she was killed “owing to the state of her burnt body”.
Police said Legae suffered third-degree burns.
She lost her life in the early hours of last Sunday. The spot where her charred body with stab wounds lay is just a stone’s throw away from her house in Seweding.
The addition of rape charges before the alleged killer, Karabo Bahurutshe (19), made his first appearance in court on Friday strongly suggests that Legae could have been raped before she was killed.
The case was remanded to February.
Police say she was stabbed multiple times, later doused with petrol and then set alight.
Mashetla said Legae lived with her grandmother, after the teenager’s mother died in 2009.
According to Mashetla, the deceased was hesitant of to join friends on a night out last Saturday.
“Her friends persuaded her to go but she was not in the mood. She left the house anyway, but little did she know that she was going out to meet her killer,” said the distraught aunt.
“She was on her way back home … [when] he stabbed her. He really wanted her dead. Why [else] would he leave her body there to go buy petrol and set her alight?
“Gomolemo fought to stay alive and she was still breathing after the stabbing. [She] managed to tell some people who had done that to her.
“An ambulance was called and, while they waited, the killer arrived and used petrol to set her alight.
“All the people heard and saw was screaming [while she was aflame]. She took her last breath a while later.”
“Just the other day we were watching a video she recorded of herself rapping to some beats. [Nyovest] was her ultimate hip-hop idol and she always spoke of working on a song with him.
“My niece took good care of herself…
You would never see her looking scruffy,” Mashetla remembered fondly.
“She would use my make-up often because she was obsessed with looking good and she ate well and would say she did not want to mess her figure.
“We will miss her singing, dancing and bubbly personality and, although irritating at times, we will definitely miss the loud music she always played and danced to while doing house chores.”
FAMILY PAIN AND THE ALLEGED KILLER
City Press was directed to Bahurutshe’s house, about 500m from Legae’s, on the other side of the road.
His brother, Lebogang, who handed him over to the police, said his family was hurt by the incident.
“This whole thing has been hard on our mother and she has not been well since because no one wants to raise a child and see them die like that and no one wants to raise a child and see them commit crime and end up in prison.
“We felt the pain the deceased’s family was going through after information went out that my younger brother was the alleged perpetrator and we decided he should be arrested and not hide from the police,” Lebogang said.
Mashetla told City Press that Bahurutshe’s family had sent a delegation to go and express their apology for what their son was alleged to have committed.
Meanwhile, Lebogang has described his brother as a “good boy at home”.
CALL FOR JUSTICE
“We call on our government and politicians to stop making noise just because it is 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and later vanishing. We must start seeing action and harsh sentences that will discourage prospective killers,” Mashetla said.
“Courts need not only help us find closure by sending killers to jail, but the jail term must be so harsh that the next man who wants to do the same thinks twice before committing a crime [of the same nature]. If all fails then bring back the death penalty.”