never again

1 Christine Nxumalo her sister Virginia Machpelah

Christine Nxumalo & her late sister Virginia Machpelah and late niece Shanice

She looked so well that day”

This photograph of the late Virginia Machpelah with her daughter Shanice was taken in June 2016. “ She looked so well that day,” Christine remembers. “And Shanice was so happy to see her mother. I didn’t know it would be the last time I would see my sister alive.”

Virginia suffered from early onset Altzheimer’s disease and had lived at Life Esidimeni Randfontine Care Centre for two years.

Two weeks after Christine had seen her sister, she received an SMS telling her Virginia had been moved. But the person didn’t know where.

Christine spent two frantic weeks trying to find her sister. On 25 August she discovered that Virginia had been moved to the NGO Precious Angels in Pretoria and planned to visit as soon as possible. But then she received the call she will never forget. Virginia was dead. The call came 10 days after Virginia had actually died.

What followed was a further ordeal. Trying to find Virginia in a mortuary in Atteridgeville. Christine had to call the police for help to have Virginia’s body released by the funeral parlour,Put U 2 Rest.

On the first day of the arbitration proceedings the family was to suffer a further tragic loss. Shanice, Virginia’s daughter, collapsed and died suddenly. It is believed she died of Broken Heart Syndrome. Shanice was 21-years-old.