Mavhunga, Ramabulana families struggling to cope since the deaths of their daughters

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The families of Lufuno Mavhunga at Nzhelele and Precious Ramabulana at Maname village, outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo, say that they have been struggling to cope since the deaths of their loved ones.

The families lost their loved ones as a result of bullying and Gender-Based Violence respectively.

The Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya and Limpopo Social Development MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale visited both families to check on how they have been coping.

The families say although they have been receiving psycho-social support from the social workers, they are still finding it difficult to accept the deaths of their daughters.

The visit to the Mavhunga and Ramabulana families started with short singing and prayer sessions in both family homes.

Lufuno Mavhunga, who was a learner at Mbilwi Secondary School, committed suicide in April last year after a video recording of her being assaulted by a fellow learner went viral on social media. The incident triggered public outcry about bullying in schools.

On the other hand, Precious Ramabulana, who was a Capricorn TVET college student, was raped and stabbed to death by Aubrey Manaka who was sentenced to life for the crime he committed in November 2019.

Lufuno’s father, Joseph Mavhunga, says the family has been struggling psychologically since the passing of his daughter.

“My wife and I still need psychological support, because it has been hard to accept the death of our daughter so that we can live a normal life again. We will also accept any help that the government can be able to help us, since no one is working, because we are living on a social grant. In terms of the young girl who bullied our daughter, we don’t know anything about her, neither did their family contact us, but we accepted that Lufuno is gone and nothing will change. Even if we could fight them, that will not bring Lufuno back. We won’t have a problem, even if they could come and sit down with us.”

Lufuno Mavhunga remembered at memorial service:

Meanwhile, Precious Ramabulana’s uncle and family spokesperson, Devilias Chaochao, says the family also struggling to come to terms with the death of their daughter.

“We are trying to cope. The priests came to us and pray for us and give us spiritual words, we become better. The councillors, deputy president, mayors, the ward committee and the headman, come to show us that it’s not the end of the world, it happens everywhere. We accept those things, but it’s painful about what happened to our daughter because it was the last year for her to complete her tertiary school.”

Social Development MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale says they came with the programme to visit the victim’s families to see how they have been coping, after losing their loved ones.

“They’ve got some situations which we’ve taken note of, and we’ll make sure that they’re going to be addressed. I think I must also indicate that of course, our social workers have been monitoring the two families. But our observations are telling us, perhaps we should take it at another level, where engagements are already on with a MEC of health, to get the services of psychologists so that we assist the families. I’m sure we’ll continue to monitor the families to make sure that we are going to help them, so this is one thing that will continue, especially the mothers, they are the ones that are not coping.”

Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya says that she will encourage other MEC’s countrywide to revisit the families of the victims, even months after the burial.

“What we’re happy about is that there is some form of work the government is doing to check on these victims because it is not only the family which is affected, it is the neighbours, the communities. We have committed that we’re going to continue to engage with them, try and find lasting solutions so that they can heal. I’m going to speak with other MECs countrywide, which let us go back to families which have been violated, families which have been victims so that we check on them. We also utilise the space of our religious leaders, so that they come with us and we hand over these families to them so that they are able to continue to give them spiritual counselling so that they can find healing.”

Siweya and Rakgaole also visited the local schools for back to school campaign. They used the visit to raise awareness on bullying, Gender-Based Violence and femicide.

Aubrey Manaka was sentenced to two life terms for murdering Precious Ramabulana: