It was a sombre day for the friends and family of a Steenberg teenager when they paid tribute to her at a memorial service held at the very field where her lifeless body was found two Sundays ago.
The body of Tashneeka Prins, 17, was found face down with an open wound to her forehead, wrapped in vinyl flooring and covered in branches at a field in Symphony Way and Sand Olive Street on Sunday November 4.
Her family believe the teen was killed near their Banjo Street home and her body later dumped at the crime scene which led passers-by to the gruesome discovery.
Her grandmother Anne Gordon last saw her on Saturday and she was last seen by a family member at a shop later in the day. The following day they were told that a body was found at the field and realised it was Tashneeka when they identified her by her red shirt and other clothes.
“I didn’t think it was Neeka and when they told me it was her I couldn’t believe it and my heart sank. She was my granddaughter but I raised her and to have lost her in such a way is very upsetting and we think we know why she was killed,” said Ms Gordon.
The grandmother said Tashneeka was in an abusive relationship with one of the men who were arrested and on the day before she was killed she broke up with him.
Ms Gordon said Tashneeka predicted her own death when she told her a few days before she was killed that the family needed to prepare her funeral.
“I told her that week that I didn’t like the relationship because he would beat her up many times and he even threatened our family and we went to the police station to report him. As she walked out of the house that day she said that it’s time and that I must prepare for her funeral for the next day,” said an emotional Ms Gordon.
Two men, aged 20 and 25, were arrested in connection with the murder and appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday November 2.
One of the men who were arrested posted on Facebook that Tashneeka is burning in hell and deserved to die – the posts and screenshots, which were seen by the Southern Mail, upset the family even further and they called for his bail to be revoked. Family and neighbours also signed a petition to oppose his bail application.
“We do not want him to be out and to terrorise anybody again. He mustn’t come out because if he could do that to our child then he can do it to other children too and if we don’t do something and if he is not going to jail for Tashneeka’s murder then he will do it to someone else again,” said Ms Gordon.
At the memorial service, friends and family paid tribute to the teen who they say had a warm smile and kind demeanour.
Melanie van Nelson from NPO Arise and Shine, who organised the memorial service, said she supported the family because she has also lost children to violence.
“My heart went out to the family and especially to the girl because nobody deserves to die in such a brutal way. We need these people who are guilty of her murder to be held accountable and to be locked up for taking our children away from us,” said Ms Van Nelson.
The two men will appear in court again on Friday November 17.