The women we are to speak to today, are members of a club that no parent wants to belong to. They are members of "The worst club in the world". The founder of this club is Denise Goldin. Her son, Brett and his friend, Richard Bloom's violent murders some six years ago, shocked the nation. Since this tragic event in her life, Denise has supported other parents, who like her, lost a child due to crime and violence. One of these mothers is Shireen de Waal. Shireen's daughter, Louise was kidnapped outside her home in Roodepoort, on her way to school, just days before her 17th birthday. Louise was the last victim of the so-called, Sunday Rapist, who has confessed to kidnapping, raping, then strangling Louise. He then burnt her body. Now, Shireen not only has to live with that loss every day. She is also in terrible financial difficulty. She was retrenched just weeks before this cruel crime and has since not been able to find a job again. She now stands to also loose her home.
Dear Laura, Di and Jacaranda Angels
My name is Denise Goldin. My son Brett and his friend Richard were murdered in Cape Town 5 years ago. There was a huge public outcry and worldwide publicity resulting in us receiving so much emotional support that we as a family somehow found the strength to deal with our unimaginable loss and trauma. Even more was given to my daughter Samantha and I when my husband Peter died nine months after Brett's death, literally of a broken heart.
I had decided 4 months after Brett's passing, whilst I was recovering from cancer which my surgeon also said was triggered by grief, to go out and give comfort and assistance to other families who had lost a child. A group of us, including Sharon Matthews, Elaine Siebert, Gabi de Groen (who lost 2 children) and others called ourselves ' The Worst Club in the World. ' This was because we felt nothing could be worse than the loss of a child....
I have continued, with my friends, doing this comfort and support giving work and for the past months have got to know Shireen de Waal, mother of Louise de Waal (aged 16) who was kidnapped, raped, murdered and burnt on her way to school only 6 months ago by the so-called Sunday Rapist. Please visit our website www.theworstclubintheworld.com to see her full story. Shireen is desperate and needs all the help and assistance she can get. She lives very humbly in a small place in Florida and still supports her son who lives with her.... She is about to lose her home as the amount we raised amongst a few supporters is almost finished and the agent for the complex has said they cannot wait for her to find employment - the rent has to be paid or she has to leave by the 7th of the month. We only have sufficient funds to cover her until the end of May.
She has tried hard to find employment, she was retrenched from her job a few days before Louise was murdered. Her name is at the agencies where she has applied, whom she calls constantly, but to no avail. As things stand she has had to cancel her Medical Aid (the lowest plan was costing her R1500pm) and is paying for her own medication, ( including Heart medication ) which is costing her R1000.00 each time..
She has also cancelled her insurance for her car and is worried as it is the only asset she has and does not want to lose it if it gets stolen! They are also short on food and groceries etc. She is so brave and it is heartbreaking to see how torn apart she is with the loss of Louise and she cannot even mourn peacefully with all her worries and stress over her financial status. I do want to emphasize that she is desperate and is terrified that she will have another breakdown. We too are most concerned. ... and at our wits end of how to further help her.
Do you think you may be able to assist this wonderful lady with some funding for her rental and basic needs? She is a single mom who has raised her 4 lovely children all on her own. Her ex husband lives in CT and had not seen Louise since she was four years old. He is destitute himself and cannot help at all. So there truly is no-where for her to turn to... I pray this appeal will find a place in your heart as it did with mine.
May you all be blessed and rewarded for the amazing work you are doing.
With my love and respect
Newspaper story below:
On September 20, last year, Louise de Waal prepared an essay on crime for her English class at Ho√ęrskool Die Burger in Roodepoort on the West Rand.
‚??Our government has failed miserably in its duty to protect ordinary people,‚?Ě she wrote, ‚??but before I point a finger at the government only let me say that us as a people have failed the government too.. Crimes are not reported and criminals are protected by relatives or friends.
‚??Every 34 seconds of every day a woman or child in South Africa gets raped‚?¶ In a bitter twist of irony we law-abiding citizens have to live in prisons we build for ourselves, while our killers and murderers walk the streets.‚?Ě
Three weeks later, four days before she turned 17, the girl who had just become a prefect and was widely tipped to be her school‚??s head girl was raped, murdered and her body burnt.
On Wednesday, her confessed killer Jaco Steyn, a 35-year-old married father and convicted sex offender, will appear in court again for the admission of Louise‚??s toxicology and DNA reports.
Dubbed the Sunday Rapist, Steyn‚??s modus operandi was to sexually molest or rape girls on Sundays when he had told his wife he would be performing community service at a Krugersdorp hospital following his conviction in 2007 for molesting children.
Detective Warrant Officer Peet du Toit tracked him to his brother-in-law on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast where he fled after killing Louise. Steyn gave himself up the next day and by the end of the week had confessed to a magistrate to killing Louise.
If all goes well, Steyn will be back in the dock in March 7 when he‚??ll be asked to plead to 35 charges ranging from rape to abduction and attempted murder of many other girls, as well as the murder and rape of Louise.
Louise‚??s mother Shireen de Waal doesn‚??t have that long.
If she hasn‚??t found the rent money by February 7, she‚??ll be evicted from the townhouse she shared with Louise and her second son Jamie, 25.
She signed a two-year lease on the townhouse precisely because it was within walking distance of the school. It was a move that she felt was worth it, to give every possible support to her daughter who she wanted to be able to achieve her every dream.
Instead, Louise was forcibly taken at gun point about 200m from the front door, while she and her friend Natasha Gordon were walking to school.
De Waal remembers it like it was yesterday. ‚??I had just been retrenched, so I was lying in bed when she came to say goodbye. We had a ritual, Louise and I, she would say ‚??I love you, mommy,‚?? and I would say; ‚??ditto, Louise, ditto‚??.‚?Ě
Today that‚??s immortalised in a tattoo on her left wrist.
Her reverie was broken by a phone call not even 20 minutes later. Jamie was shouting that Louise had been kidnapped.
A good Samaritan took a shocked Natasha, who had managed to escape, to De Waal‚??s townhouse. Throwing a tracksuit over her pyjamas, De Waal shot out with the good Samaritan to the nearest motorway.
There she stood in the traffic banging on car roofs as they drove past, pleading with people to help her find her daughter.
Returning to her house, which was filling up with concerned family, including her three other children, Jamie, Jessica, 30; and Justin, 29, she climbed into her car and set off to search for Louise.
‚??I drove in the wrong direction. I know that now, but I was frantic.‚?Ě
By noon, she was sitting on the couch in her lounge. Suddenly she was struck by a premonition.
At 7pm she called the police and begged someone to tell her what was happening.
Then she went to lie down on Louise‚??s bed. Half an hour later the police knocked at her door.
‚??I just screamed. I lost it. Louise had been found at 11.30am.‚?Ě
The worst part was nobody would tell her anything.
Police forensic investigators had been to get DNA samples from Jamie and Jessica but they needed a DNA sample from the mother.
‚??We were sitting on the couch watching for news on TV and there was a blue strip running across the bottom.
‚??A burnt body had been found in Magaliesberg. I tried to digest it and then I screamed, ‚??Justin, was she burnt?! Was she burnt?!‚??
‚??I don‚??t think I‚??ll ever have closure,‚?Ě she says, twisting a pillbox in her hands over and over again. ‚??I couldn‚??t see her, I couldn‚??t touch her face, I couldn‚??t say goodbye.‚?Ě
Something silver pops out of the pillbox. De Waal looks at it, pops it back in. It‚??s Louise‚??s belly-ring ‚?? the only part of her daughter that she has left.
Denise Goldin comforts De Waal.
Her son, the acclaimed young SA actor Brett, was carjacked, robbed and kidnapped with his friend Richard Bloom in Cape Town in April 2006.
Shoved in the boot, they were driven from Camps Bay to the cable car parking area where they were forced to strip to their socks and made to lie face-down. Then they were executed with a single shot to the head.
‚??They wouldn‚??t let me see Brett. I was told not to go and when I did, I wasn‚??t allowed to uncover his head, which was covered with a traditional shawl. They didn‚??t want me to see that half of it had been blown away.‚?Ě
Morgue officials did cut a lock of Brett‚??s hair for her. Today it‚??s in a silver locket with a picture of her son. She hasn‚??t taken it off once in almost six years.
‚??Shireen, perhaps one day, when you‚??re up to it, we‚??ll go to the Magaliesberg, we‚??ll find the spot where Louise was killed and we‚??ll spend time there.
‚??I did it with Brett. I went and lay down in the same spot. I looked up and saw the last thing he would have seen. I needed to share his death as I had shared his life.‚?Ě
Goldin is the informal leader of ‚??The Worst Club in the World‚?Ě, a group of people who lost their children through crime and who now reach out to other parents in the same situation.
‚??I was so impressed by her courage,‚?Ě Goldin says of De Waal. ‚??She‚??s a single mom who did such a fantastic job of bringing her four lovely children up on her own and now she‚??s had to go through this ‚?? on top of losing her job and the very real prospect of losing her home too. She‚??s got nothing left.‚?Ě
De Waal needs all the help she can get. ‚??I‚??m not coping. What you see on the outside isn‚??t what‚??s happening on the inside,‚?Ě she says.
For the first month, she was placed on a suicide watch.
‚??I don‚??t go out and when I do, I want to come home after an hour. I can‚??t handle noise. I‚??m scared.
‚??The best part is night time when I can take the pills the doctor prescribed and sleep, but the moment I wake up, I feel like I‚??ve been stabbed in the heart‚?¶ and it‚??s like that every single day.
‚??We were happy, Louise and I, so, so happy. I know normal people,‚?Ě she says, making inverted comma gestures with her hands above her face, ‚??have wives and husbands; I had Louise, she was my soulmate. There were no secrets. We could discuss anything. Her life was just beginning, she had her own dreams and it was my dream to make her dreams come true.‚?Ě
On the coffee table is a scrapbook that De Waal has put together in the months since the murder. It paints a picture of a happy girl from pretty toddler to beautiful teenager, venturing into modelling.
In her room hangs a blazer, mute testimony to the achiever she was, with scrolls down the length and badges along the lapels. It‚??s a replacement handed to her by the school at Louise‚??s memorial service.
The original blazer was burnt to a crisp.
In the conclusion to her speech on crime, Louise wrote: ‚??We all know the government‚??s view on the death penalty, but maybe it‚??s time to change this matter.
‚??Democracy is about the will of the majority, well, the majority of people support the death penalty, so go out on the streets and talk to people.‚?Ě
Three months ago, De Waal would have agreed.
‚??I don‚??t want Louise‚??s death to be in vain. I know it took her death to catch this man, but why didn‚??t he let her go like all the others? Why was she different from all the other girls?
‚??I know the answer ‚?? he didn‚??t wear his disguise that day, he didn‚??t operate 60 or 70km from his home, it wasn‚??t a Sunday.
‚??Instead, he took her at 7am, took her to his home 10km away and raped her on his bed.
‚??Then he took her to the Magaliesberg. I was told she said she wanted to get out to wee, and when she did, he crept up behind her, put a plastic (bag) over her head and suffocated her. Then he burnt her. The very next day he gave himself up.
‚??I wanted him to die. Now I want him to live a very long life, suffering in jail every day just like he‚??s made us suffer.‚?Ě
*If you can help or would like to help Shireen de Waal, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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