Cape Town – The family of domestic abuse victim Nikita Lewis, who was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend while seeking refuge at a care centre, said they are still struggling to come to terms with her murder.
On Tuesday, the Western Cape High Court heard victim impact reports from a social worker in sentencing proceedings of the convicted murderer, Lloyd Simbarashe.
The report conducted by social worker Litessa Antony described the agony and heartbreak experienced by the Lewis family. Antony’s report said Nikita’s mother, Bonita Lewis, was forced to quit her job to care for Nikita’s grandmother and also to attend court hearings.
Antony said Bonita told her in an interview: “I look at mothers and daughters in the street, at church, in the bus, everywhere and my heart bleeds; I will never have the opportunity to interact with my daughter. I am a grandmother, but today I am a mother (to Nikita’s eight-year-old son) which is not age appropriate, it is emotionally and physically exhausting.”
Bonita told Antony not a day goes by without her thinking about her daughter.
Nikita, 24, was stabbed 34 times by Simbarashe, who had stalked her while she was seeking refuge at the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Manenberg.
She had been living at the centre for just over a month when Simbarashe tracked her down and killed her on October 9, 2015.
On the fateful day, Nikita, two other women and four minors from the centre had gone shopping to Pick and Save Superette, about a kilometre away from the centre when Simbarashe entered the shop and attacked her. Antony said Nikita’s mother regrets not being physically able to identify her daughter at the crime scene due to trauma. “She is of the opinion that this defines her as a bad mother,” said Antony.
Bonita told Antony that Callon, Nikita’s son, is having a hard time dealing with his mother’s absence. She told Antony: “He asks on a regular basis, ‘Is my mommy still lying in the shop?’”
Bonita, through the social worker, told the court she felt Simbarashe had robbed her of her daughter.
Antony said: “Mrs Lewis (referring to Bonita) describes the fear of direct physical violence, emotional manipulation and torture that was experienced by the family.
“The most prevalent result is that her child’s life was stolen from her. In addition, her role of grandmother changed to mother, resulting in her having to redesign her life.”
The proceedings continue today.