Her name was Zama...

Her name was Zama Mkwane and she was a mother, daughter and my best friend.

 Let me give you a brief history of Miss Zama. She was born in Lesotho, the middle child having an older sister and a younger brother. She didn't go to school in Lesotho, she came to SA for her education and that is how she and I met, when we were both 15 in boarding school.

Zama and I became friends when we met in school. She bullied men a little my first year but only maybe once or twice, but we still became thick as thieves. After matriculating (not with the 33% rate of today) in 2002 she went to Bloemfontein to study hotel and catering and I went to college to obtain a sound engineering diploma. We sort of lost contact with each other and had it not been for facebook we might not have found each other. In 2007 she came to Joburg and our friendship took off again.

 When she came to Joburg she started dating this guy, let’s call him “Slime-Ball” (you’ll see why soon), who was 2 years her junior (his age is not an issue, I just want to be specific so that if he reads this he knows I’m talking about him). I didn't know much about the guy except that he’s been fired from his previous job, also in the hospitality industry, for being drunk at work. Some might call this “warning sign number 1”. Slime-Ball then moved in with Zama when she was offered a job in Centurion. They packed up and off they went. 

I didn't see Zama for a while when she moved to Centurion and when I eventually did see her, she was a shadow of the old Zama. She used to be a curvy woman with beautiful luscious breasts and the warmest smile, she was now skinny and her skin didn't look so good. She said she’d lost weight due to stress from work, I believed her.

I was living in North Riding with some old high friends and Zama came with Slime-Ball for a visit. My younger brother Bongani, had also come for a visit and he wanted to get something to drink. Slime-Ball also wanted something to drink but he was without cash. Zama gave him her card and off they went to get themselves some drinks. While they were gone I questioned Zama about a tooth of hers that was different in colour to the other teeth, that’s when she told me what had been happening.

Slime-Ball had hit her and had thrown a table at her and it broke her tooth, the yellow tooth was a replacement tooth – the first of many. Having not gone through that form of abuse I just said to her “leave the bastard”. That’s when I started disliking him

Zama fell pregnant in 2010 and during this time she moved from Centurion back to Joburg. She was working at the time and had asked for a transfer, Slime-Ball was still NOT working. Because she was always busy during the day, she gave him money and asked him to go and secure a flat for them. She provided him with her ID and the money. He registered the lease under his name, one of many of his Slime-Ball antics. They moved into the flat and then Zama started complaining about his abuse. This here gentleman was hitting her while she was pregnant with his child. She ran away many times, one time I called the police on him, a request of hers, and when they arrived you know what they said “sort it out guys”. Needless to say, she never called them again.  She gave birth to a beautiful little angel (or monkey depending on the day) and she named her Khanya. Things seemed to change after Khanya was born and Slime-Ball even found a job (SHOCKER!!!) and the abuse came to an end – for a while.  

Then it started all over again. In December (I think it was December) of 2011 Zama was let go from work and Slime-Ball was now the provider and he didn't like it one bit. He started to hit her and blamed her for all their troubles. He said it was her fault she got let go, forgetting that she had foot the bill for a long time while all he did was drink and get high – what a dipsh!t!!! When he would get drunk he would be violent, she’d come to my place and spend up to two weeks with me. I loved it because it meant I could spend time and bond with Khanya. One time I felt that she was not telling me the whole truth so I got us some wine to help her unwind. She told me everything and my hatred for Slime-Ball increased with every word. He would call her phone non-stop during the time she was not around and demand her to come back. She would ignore the calls at time; she would also switch the phone off as well. Many times she asked me to answer the phone and swear at him, but I’d refuse. The things that I would say to him would lead him to jump off a cliff. He would get to her emotions with just these words “I miss you and our daughter, I’m sorry, please come back”

In January of 2012 he didn't even pay the rent for their flat, he spent the money on booze during December. Zama had to call her dad and beg him for money to pay the rent. She lied to Slimy and told him he’d got the money from me because she knew he wouldn't pay her dad back why do you have to pay your own father backwere his words, hence the lie.

It got so bad to the point that Zama no longer felt safe and she left and moved to a shelter for abused women and children. My heart was so broken, I kept begging her to come and stay with me but she didn't want to be a burden. I told her she wasn't a burden and that I loved her and wanted her with me. She didn't come to me. Slime-Ball didn't know where she was, he even called me one time demanding to know where she and Khanya were, I laughed at him and he hung up. He eventually found her and convinced her he’d changed, he even agreed to go to therapy and she went back. 

Things quieted down for a bit and she even found a job in the middle of 2012. She was so happy, she’d never been one to be dependant and it depressed her so much. When she got the job, the light returned to her eyes. Meanwhile, Slime-Ball lost his job (yes, another one) and he became dependant on Zama – AGAIN!!! Zama became the sole provider yet again and he absolutely loved it. A woman who cooks, cleans and provides for him is a dream life to him – LOSER!!! He would take money from her and go and buy liquor, forgetting that the money was for them to live and for their baby. Many times during the time Zama was not working, Slimy would go get drunk and not buy food for the child. Zama would have to beg from friends and family in order to provide food and things for her child because getting drunk was more of a priority to Slimy than the well-being of his child. LOSER!!! In  December of 2012 Zama and Khanya went to Lesotho to her family and Slimy stayed in Joburg, maily due to the fact that he is NOT welcome in the Mkhwane household because of the abuse. He sent Zama a message that read “how can you go home and leave me behind when you know I don’t have a home to go to. And while you’re home, what do you expect me to drink” Can you believe it, his biggest concern was alcohol, wanting to drink even though he couldn’t even buy himself alcohol – what a LOSER!!!

Anyway, I want to skip over to 27th January 2013. Zama died on this day. She “fell” from the 6th floor of their building to her death. Slimy was there and so was Khanya. She watched her mother get beat up and then “fall” over the balcony. Zama was screaming so loud that night, the security guard could hear her all the way down stairs. He went up to their flat and knocked on the door. The screaming didn'tstop and nobody opened the door. He was on his way down stairs when he heard Zama’s screams but this time she was falling and then he heard the loud THUMP. It was Zama landing. Slime went to her and she was still alive but he didn't call the ambulance first, he called his brother. His brother who lives about 30 minutes’ drive away arrived before the police who are less than 15 minutes away. This isn't because of the police incompetence; this is because they were not called until Slime’s brother arrived.  I don’t know what discussion was held between the brothers but the story goes like so:  

1) Zama slipped over the balcony because she was sitting on the balcony wall

2) Zama was trying to get to the neighbours balcony by jumping over and then she slipped 

3) “I didn’t see what happened, I was inside with my daughter” yet Zama’s braids were all over the balcony floor and there was broken glass everywhere and the security guard and  neighbour heard her screaming from the balcony.

I can’t remember the other stories but that’s those are the stories that I do remember. 


Zama’s older sister was called and when they arrived Slime’s brother told them what happened. Slime couldn't talk because he was in tears. Slime’s brother said this by mistake “how could Slime be so drunk” to which she replied what do you mean?” and he said “No nothing, never mind”

On the 31st of January Zama was to be paid and she was going to leave Slime for good, we’d already planned it. She was going to get one of her friends to take Slime out for drink (his favourite thing to do) and while he was gone, she was going to move. She’d even planned to take the day off and she needed someone to distract him because the loser was not working so he was always home. Just 4 more days and she’d have been free of him, just 4. She had already planned to send Khanya to her mom in Lesotho; we’d planned this so carefully. She was gonna come live with me and we were both so excited. 

Zama’s birthday is on 23rd August, seven days before mine and this year we were going to turn 30. We’d have had a joint party but it isn't going to happen.

She’s dead and there is no investigation going on and Slime is still on the streets. Between the 27th of January and the 9th of February Slime went about his life and found himself a job. The cash cow was dead and rent was due on the 1st, he didn't even come to her funeral. I don’t have concrete proof, but I believe he pushed Zama. I don’t think it was on purpose, but he had a hand in her death.  He pushed her, that is my belief but because we live in South Africa, ear witness accounts don’t hold up in a court of law. Lie detector tests don’t hold up in a court of law. Unless you’re famous, no one is going to care about your death so no investigation will take place. 

I’m so tempted to call his uncle, who is a radio personality at one of SA’s top radio stations, on one of his shows but I don’t what I’ll say. He didn'tdo anything to Zama, he never hit her or hurt her. He wasn't there on the night of the incident and he doesn't know what happened. I’m just so desperate to get Slime to confess, something I need to realise is never going to happen. I’m moving on slowly, but I feel like I’m doing an injustice because she would not have stopped fighting for my justice – so I’m not stopping. I’m just going to do it the right way.

I’m sorry you had to die that way and I’m sorry you won’t get to see Monkey grow up. Not a day goes by with me thinking of you. I miss you so much, you were the closest person in my life. Monkey is so beautiful and she look exactly like you. She doesn't remember you though, she was so young when you passed, but don’t worry honey, I got your back. Monkey is my baby now and I’m getting grey hairs on your behalf but I’m also very happy.  

Happy 30th birthday my honey bunny, this year we’re having a Mad Hatter Tea Party for my special day and you’re invited, but please don’t scare the guests. J