‘Our hearts are broken’: mourners bid farewell to brutally murdered family
Devastated loved ones gathered on Thursday to give a heartfelt send-off to the Brand family, brutally murdered in Hartswater in the Northern Cape.
The funeral service took place at the Noorderharts Gemeente Magogong.
Danie, 83, and Breggie Brand, 73, and their daughter Elzabie, 54, were found dead in the Taung area.
They went missing after allegedly being attacked on their farm. Danie’s vehicle, a Nissan Micra, was found close to Taung and Elzabie's silver Mazda was found on the N18 close to Pudimoe.
While the killings were greeted with disbelief and outrage, mourners were urged not to bear anger in their hearts because it would “turn into hate”.
Close family members, wearing masks, sat in the two front rows of the church with pink proteas on the tables before them. Other mourners spread out across the church, seated on benches to adhere to social distancing regulations.
At the front of the church were three burning candles, colourful flowers and a framed photograph of Danie, Breggie and Elzabie.
Family members sobbed while a slide show played, depicting photos of the three.
The gospel song Oceans (Spirit Lead Me) by Hillsongs United played in the background.
“The death of Dan, Breggie and Elzabie did not only touch you, but all of us. The manner in which they died is unacceptable, not only to you as a family, but to all of us,” pastor Martin Coetzer told the congregants.
“Today we are here to mourn with you. Our hearts are broken with you. We know that you would find comfort in knowing that God is always there.
“Words are few this morning and nothing we say or do will make the burden and pain lighter. Maybe you have a lot of questions, but God wants to show you this morning that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.”
We will always miss BreggieA letter read to mourners
Coetzer asked the community not to bear anger in their hearts because “it will turn into hate”.
“God didn’t intend anyone to die in such a cruel manner and that the community and families had to live in such fear.
“I know you are angry, but we can’t allow anger to take over today. If we don’t address our anger, it will turn into hate and that is not what God wants for his children,” Coetzer said.
In a letter read out by a family member, a former colleague praised Breggie for always working hard and going above and beyond for those she cared for and loved.
“I am sorry that I couldn’t be with you guys today. We were all sad when we found out what happened. Breggie’s family was always priority and she always drew strength from her Christian faith.
“She always made sure that her girls were properly educated. She was always immaculately dressed and perfectly groomed. She was always respected. We will always miss Breggie,” the letter read.
None of the family members spoke at the funeral.
After the service, as the family left the church, they placed pink flowers on three caskets.
Five suspects have been charged on three counts of murder, kidnapping and theft of motor vehicles and have appeared in court.