I LOST MY SISTER
By: Ayanda Dube
The early 90’s struggles in KwaZulu Natal between the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party left many people homeless.
Most families suffered loss, as there were frequent gun-battles. The carrying a gun was as common place as carrying of a cellphone is today.
The Maphumulo family of Willow, Pietermaritzburg, lost their home and a family member in 1992 when their home was allegedly burnt to ashes by IFP members. Sibongile Maphumulo (47) survived because she ran the bush near their home. She said that it was in the afternoon when they heard gunshots; her sister who died went to hide in the neighbour’s house. Because the IFP members didn’t find anybody in the house, they then went to burn the neighbour’s home where Sibongile’s sister hid and died
Sibongile spent the whole night in the bush because she was scared to come out because she thought that they were going to come back. In the morning she went to her mother’s work in Witbank, where she stayed, to tell her about the incident and that her sister had died.
“It was the worst day of my life to hear that I don’t have a home anymore and my daughter is no more. I thought it was the end of me,” said Juliet Maphumulo, Sibongile’s mother.
They buried her sister in the Witbank cemetery because they just couldn’t go back to their home as they were scared. Sibongile said that they stayed at her mother’s work until 1995 when they bought a new house in another area. “I was left traumatised for two years,” said Sibongile.
Police came and took statements but no one was arrested. However, the family was still traumatised- they didn’t care whether they arrested the suspects or not, because they claimed it wasn’t going to bring back their daughter home. Juliet said, “I heard after a long time that the people who were suspects had died.