never again

Bernika

Mojanilu Selina Klaas & her late sister Bernika Mokaneng

Christmas gatherings  

Bernika couldn't talk but communicated with her eyes and gestures. She always smiled. She loved to play with children and Selina remembers growing up on the farm in Northwest having fun, playing with her older sister. Family gatherings at Christmas were always happy times.

Bernika Mokaneng had lived at Life Esidimeni Randfontein for many years and was moved to Takalani. Selina only found her sister two weeks after she had been there. When she found Bernika, her clothes were dirty and she was wearing someone else’s shoes. The skirt she had on was very short.

"She was wearing a long sleeve top even though I know my sister hated long sleeves." When Selina lifted the sleeve, she noticed bruises everywhere. Bernika kept covering her face with a tracksuit top and seemed to indicate that she had been raped.

Things looked so bad that Selina decided at the end of the month to go and take her sister out. But the Friday before she was going back to Takalani, the matron called her. She informed Selina that her sister had died the night before.

"She was rude," Selina remembers. "She told me they would only keep the body until Monday, and I must bring an undertaker. We buried my sister the next week.

“That picture of how I saw Bernika the last time – that is what stays with me. “