On 21 April, my birthday, my mother told me about a missing teacher from a local high school, Jayde Panayiotou. She’s since been found murdered and her husband is the prime suspect. My mother casually mentioned that Jayde studied teaching with my younger sister at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
This morning I was reviewing the case from various news sources. And there was many unanswered questions going through my mind, such as, “Why is this so similar to Reeva Steenkamp’s murder?” and “If she was a black teacher, would the media give it the same amount of coverage?”
All I know about this story is what my mother told me, and what the news media has reported non-stop. May Jayde rest in peace. And I trust the courts will confirm the guilt of her husband.
After all this, I thought about my sister. She’s engaged to be married later this year to her fiancee. Their relationship had its ups and downs, just like my own. But chills went down my spine, when I considered, this could have happened to my very own sister.
At first there was a sadness, a helplessness that came over me. And afterwards a flash of rage, and anger that I have felt before. As the older brother I always considered it was my blood-bound duty to be my sister’s keeper.
Do I feel responsible for her now that she’s an adult? How can I protect her when I’m living in another city or another country for that matter? What can I do when harm comes to her? It pains me to think about the distance, both physical and emotional, between us since she finished high school.
There are few things in life as precious as family, sisters or brothers.
Annuscha, my sister, I love you with all my heart. When I was 12 years old, you were born. The day you were born I was left home alone, and the adults rushed off to hospital with our pregnant mother. This is a memory so deeply ingrained in my soul I can never forget the day you came into our lives.
Some of the fondest memories I have is how I changed your nappies. And how me and your cousin, Alberton, taped your crying voice, and played it back to you on tapes. Your reaction to this was priceless. Your life is precious and I admire your courage to raise two children.
Wherever I may be in the world, you can always count on me to be there for you.