'He killed me on the inside': Grieving mom recalls last moments before her children's brutal murder
The house‚ which belonged to her late mother‚ looks like many of the others on her street. It has a plastered‚ unpainted wall. There is also a colourfully painted shack in front of the house where her brother and his wife live.
A white tent is erected inside the yard.
The room where Ndibi sits has no furniture‚ save for the mattress she is sitting on. She is in mourning following the discovery last Monday of the bodies of her two children‚ who went missing on October 1.
Ndibi recounts the last moments her two children played and laughed in the house. It is a painful reminder.
The children‚ Elam‚ a girl aged 9‚ and Muzi‚ a boy aged 8‚ were brutally murdered. Their bodies were found in an open field in Slovoville‚ Soweto‚ last Monday. The scene of the crime is about 10km from the house in Tshepisong.
The discovery of their bodies left the community reeling.
“I don’t think I will be able to stay in this house again‚” Ndibi said‚ looking out of a window.
The 33-year-old said some of the children’s friends had come to their house and told her that her children were picked up by a former boyfriend on October 1. The man’s first name is known to the family‚ but his surname is not - despite them dating for more then 18 months.
The relationship apparently turned sour after Ndibi broke up with him.
The children’s aunt‚ who lives in a shack in front of the house‚ called him after their disappearance to ask him where the children were.
“I have the kids and they are fine‚ but I want their mother‚ I want to kill her‚” he apparently told her.
Police have confirmed they are looking for the man.
Ndibi said she believed the man had hired hitmen to kill her.
“He got angry each time he saw me with another man‚ even if it was a stranger. I was sick and tired of him. Each time we had an argument he would come and take everything he had bought for me‚” Ndibi said.
Ndibi described him as a supportive man who bought her groceries‚ a cooking stove and blankets. That was‚ however‚ until he got angry and would reclaim those items.
“The last time he came here‚ he took the food and blankets and we ended up sleeping on the mattress without blankets.”
The day when the two siblings went missing was just like any other day‚ Ndibi said.
She woke up and prepared the kids for school.
“I bathed and made them bread and eggs - their favourite meal - while I also prepared myself to go to school where I sell fruits and snacks.”
I am alive because I am breathing‚ but he killed me on the inside.
Ndibi walked them to school and fetched them later that afternoon.
"When we arrived back at home‚ they changed out of their school uniform and went to play with their friends. Within thirty minutes of playing‚ one of the friends came to tell me that [her ex-boyfriend] had just taken them to a garage where he said he was going to buy them ice-cream.
"I immediately rushed to buy airtime and called him to ask why he had taken my kids without my knowledge and he said he was just at the garage‚ he would return them. I called again and his phone was off‚" she said.
Ndibi then broke down and wiped her tears with a cloth - the hurt in her eyes evident.
She folded her arms and said she had left everything and rushed to the Kagiso Police Station to report the children as missing.
"Policemen accompanied me to Emnandini [a nearby township] where he rented a shack. On our arrival‚ the landlord told us that he moved out earlier in the day.”
Her mind was racing‚ and all she could think of was the safety of her children.
“I kept calling his cell phone and it finally went through. He put me on speaker and I could hear both of them crying. The young one kept on saying‚ ‘Mama mama wozosilanda sisesigangeni [Mommy‚ mommy‚ come fetch us‚ we are in the veld]’‚ while the elder one said‚ ‘Mama fonela amaphoyisa [Mom‚ call the police]’‚” Ndibi said‚ with tears pouring down her face.
She said she did not think she would ever find peace.
"I do not know where life will take me‚ but I never want to involve myself with a man again. I am alive because I am breathing‚ but he killed me on the inside."
Ndibi’s brother‚ Luvuyo Ndibi‚ said the family didn’t see the ex-boyfriend as someone who was violent.
“He seemed very calm and as if he loved the children‚” Luvuyo said.
According to the family‚ it was not the first time the man had taken the children.
“They knew and trusted him. The elder one was actually very clever‚ she was cautious‚ they were not going to leave with him‚ had he shown bad intentions before‚” Luvuyo said.
He added that he hoped justice would prevail.
Burial arrangements have not been finalised as police are still conducting post mortems.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said an investigation was under way.
“We are still looking for the suspect‚ who is the mother’s ex-boyfriend‚ who has been identified as the main suspect‚ as he was last seen with the children‚” he said.