Murdered Sibongiseni Gabada had so much to offer

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Murdered Sibongiseni Gabada had so much to offer

As they bid her farewell, family and friends share happy memories of a well-loved and resourceful woman

Journalist
Sibongeseni Gabada's dog, Qanduqandu, mingles with mourners at her funeral in Khayelitsha on Wednesday.
TOGETHER TO THE END Sibongeseni Gabada's dog, Qanduqandu, mingles with mourners at her funeral in Khayelitsha on Wednesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

Sibongiseni Gabada has become a statistic.

Her name has been etched on to the long list of women who have been senselessly killed in SA. Like countless others, she was killed, allegedly, by a man who claimed to love her.

The gruesome details of her death have eclipsed the fruitful life she lived for 36 years. Gabada was well-loved, resourceful and an economically active member of society.

She was buried in Khayelitsha on Wednesday – along with her dreams. Fortunately, instead of dwelling on the details of her untimely death, her friends brought her back to life with tales of their childhood as they eulogised her over her coffin.

Sibongiseni Gabada was buried in Khayelitsha on Wednesday.
Sibongiseni Gabada was buried in Khayelitsha on Wednesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

Meanwhile, her black dog, Qanduqandu, roamed around her coffin desolately, and equally distraught was her cat, Sabrina, inside her home. This drove home the point that SA has been robbed of yet another pearl.

Gabada’s grandmother, Mavis, 79, raised her in upmarket Clifton where she worked as a domestic worker.

Her younger sister, Nomathamsanqa, described her as resourceful.

“She lived in Clifton with my grandmother, and she went to Camps Bay High School,” said Nomathamsanqa.

Sibongiseni Gabada's remains were taken to her final resting place at the local cemetery.
Sibongiseni Gabada's remains were taken to her final resting place at the local cemetery.
Image: Esa Alexander

“In 2008 she moved to Johannesburg, and she got a job as Zola7’s PA. She came back in 2013 and volunteered at Madame Zingara because she loved arts. She also volunteered in many community development projects. She also started her catering business, she baked cakes. She laughed a lot, was easy-going and love people. She bore no grudges. But on the 29th of May we found her dead. Her boyfriend is the suspect in her death.

“We don’t know how they met, but her friends know him, and her body was found next to the boyfriend’s shack. It was stuffed inside a sports bag and covered with pieces of wood and trash. It could be that the perpetrator intended to move the body and discard it elsewhere at a later stage.”

Mavis Gabada, 79, buried her only child in 2011. On Wednesday she buried her granddaughter.
Mavis Gabada, 79, buried her only child in 2011. On Wednesday she buried her granddaughter.
Image: Esa Alexander

Gabada’s former classmates, Portia Msamo, Milli Bala and Sibulele Siko-Shosha, gave a moving tribute.

“Even though she is lying here, she is talking. Her deeds speak for themselves, she was a fighter,” said Bala. Siko-Shosha read a statement that the Camps Bay High “matric class of 2002” had prepared.

“We will honour you by saying our final farewell to you by how you preferred to called; Sibongiseni Nomfazi Gabada,” the tribute read.

Sibongiseni Gabada's former classmates, Milli Bala, Sibulele Siko-Shosha and Portia Msamo, paid tribute to her on Wednesday.
Sibongiseni Gabada's former classmates, Milli Bala, Sibulele Siko-Shosha and Portia Msamo, paid tribute to her on Wednesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

“Eighteen years after we shared moments with you in corridors between lessons at Camps Bay High School, it is with bleeding hearts that we say our final farewell. You were a force in life, a fighting spirit you have clearly demonstrated even after your demise.”

Msamo said: “Sibongiseni had a way of making you feel like, when you had her attention, you were the most important person in the room. She would look straight into your eyes and it would seem as if she would not only be listening with her ears but also with her heart.”

“Her love for poetry and the joy she expressed at even the smallest of things in life, reminded us of how we didn’t need to wait for the overhyped, highly anticipated milestones, but to appreciate the simpler moments that passed by unnoticed,” said Msamo. “Lala ngoxolo [rest in peace], Majola.”

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