“I HELD MY MOTHER IN MY ARMS AS SHE TOOK HER LAST BREATH”

Everson Luhanga

When Sfiso Chakwane heard the deafening gunshots in their crowded shack, he covered himself with his blanket, praying that the bullets would not strike him or any of his family members.

But later, after the robbers had gone, Sfiso checked on his parents. What he found was as bad as he could ever have imagined.

He said his father had been shot and was lying dead in the bed.

“My mom showed signs of life. She was soaked in blood. I took her out of the bed and held her in my arms. I was hoping the paramedics would find her still breathing and would save her,” he said.

“But as I waited for the officials to arrive, my mother took her last breath as I held her in my arms.”

Seventeen-year-old Sfiso told Scrolla.Africa from the one-roomed shack in Alexandra, Joburg where his parents had died in the early hours of Tuesday morning, that he was sleeping on the ground when the robbers arrived earlier that night.

His mother, Yvonne Ndlovu, a domestic worker, and her husband Zeph Ntebane, a painter, were sleeping on the bed along with Sfiso’s siblings aged 14 and 10.

The robbers broke the burglar bars and rushed into the shack. They shot Yvonne and fired three shots at her husband.

Then before leaving, the man who had pulled the trigger lifted the blanket and spoke to Sfiso.

“After we’ve left, call the ambulance to save your parents,” he said, then vanished with a plasma television set, three cell phones and a laptop.

The teenager said he was shaking.

“I didn’t know what to do. I had no cell phone as they took everything,” he said.

“I went to the neighbours to get them to call the cops and the paramedics.”

That’s when Sfiso went back to find that his father had died, his siblings were unhurt and his mother was alive but dying.

He said he can still hear the loud gunshots ringing in his ears and the smell of gunpowder.

“Everything happened in that tiny space,” he said.

Sfiso’s aunt Precious Ndlovu said she doesn’t understand why the robbers had to kill both her sister and her sister’s husband. 

“If they wanted the television, they should just have taken it and spared their lives. The children are orphans because of a TV. I’m shattered,” she said.

Alexandra police spokesman Sergeant Simphiwe Mbatha said police are investigating cases of double murder and robbery.