The case in South Africa against a 25-year-old suspect in the murder of young Limpopo medical intern, Shongile Pretty Nkhwashu, has been postponed to 31 January 2020.
The suspect, Ntiyiso Shilumane, hid his face as he appeared in the packed Mankweng Magistrate Court today, charged with the murder of 24-year-old Shongile.
He was apparently her boyfriend, and the two had a 3-year-old son together.
The discovery of Shongile’s decomposing body on Sunday evening has shaken South Africans, reigniting calls for united action against gender-based violence (GBV). She had only just begun her internship at Mankweng Hospital in Polokwane in January.
Shongile had a bright future ahead of her, the first in her village to earn a medical degree, when her life was cut short, allegedly at the hands of Ntiyiso. She had last been seen three days previously, when he reportedly came to visit her.
After the murder, he reportedly fled but was later arrested, and has since been co-operating with police, reported the SABC.
The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said: “This is a very sad incident and a stain on our society’s conscience, that with all measures put in place and with the country’s focus on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), barbaric acts like this by men still happen.”
Shongile had reportedly been strangled.
Mankweng Hospital staff members and the community are in absolute shock. Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize described Shongile’s death as a loss to the medical field, and paid a visit to Mankweng Hospital, accompanied by the Limpopo MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba.
Dr Ramathuba said: “Six years of studies, hardly two weeks of employment as a medical intern, our beautiful, young smart Dr Nkwashu’s life was cut short at just 24 in the hands allegedly of her boyfriend. How do I face her parents after so much sacrifices and say it shall be well when I know it is not RIP.”
Dr Ramathuba called on South Africans to attend the court case: “She is gone… the least we can do is to fight for her justice. Every little voice counts #JusticeForDrNkwhashu #RIPShongileNkwhashu”
Dr Mike Mikia Ramothwala, Senior Clinincal Manager at Limpopo Department of Health, tweeted: “The family informed our Minister of Health @DrZweliMkhize that Shongile was the first person in the village to graduate in medicine.
“Male Chauvinism has robbed the country of yet another young girl full of potential #RIPShongileNkwhashu”
A concerned Nkoana-Mashabane said today that the country is “deeply traumatised” by acts of extreme violence perpetrated by men against women and children, and encouraged all men and boys to take a stand against all forms of abuse and GBVF.
“(The National Pledge) is not only about being a good man, father, husband and co-worker. It goes beyond that to men not allowing violence in all its forms to take place.
“Men can do this by calling out other men who insult, denigrate, abuse or treat women like objects. Men need to be active players in efforts to end GBVF,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
Dr Mashathini M. Justin, a friend of Shongile’s paid tribute, saying: “She was a mother to a handsome son. A daughter to an amazing mother. A sister, a cousin. My friend, classmate and colleague. It breaks my heart. Shared so much for past 6 years. We became family. I lost a friend.”
Join us this morning 22 Jan @09hrs Mankweng magistrate court as the murder suspect of our lovely,ever smiling Dr Pretty appears. She is gone the least we can do is to fight for her justice Every little voice counts #JusticeForDrNkwhashu #RIPShongileNkwhashu pic.twitter.com/YdFSWuQTzc
— Dr Phophi Ramathuba (@PhophiRamathuba) January 22, 2020
Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has today visited the family of Shongile Nkhwashu, a medical doctor intern who was found…
The case against 25 year old Ntiyiso Shilumane, charged with the murder of #RIPShongileNkwhashu, has been postponed to 31 January in the Mankweng Magistrate's Court in #Limpopo. He hid his face in court so journalists will not be able to take pictures of his face #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/zr5tgLl8Xy
— Shibu Mamokgere (@shiburyder) January 22, 2020