Maties stu­dent was ‘the purest soul on the planet’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - IAN LANDSBERG

HUN­DREDS of mourn­ers gath­ered at a me­mo­rial ser­vice at the Dutch Re­formed Church in Fish Hoek to pay their last re­spects to mur­dered Maties stu­dent, Han­nah Cor­nelius.

The 21-year-old BA stu­dent was raped and mur­dered fol­low­ing a hi­jack­ing on Stel­len­bosch’s main road last Satur­day. A male friend, Ch­es­lin Marsh, who was with Cor­nelius dur­ing the or­deal, was badly as­saulted but man­aged to es­cape from their as­sailants. Cor­nelius was cre­mated on Thurs­day.

Yes­ter­day’s me­mo­rial was at­tended by friends, fam­ily mem­bers, fel­low stu­dents, and Stel­len­bosch Uni­ver­sity Rec­tor Wim de Vil­liers. Mem­bers of the me­dia were not al­lowed in­side the church dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings.

Af­ter the ser­vice, mourn­ers gath­ered on the steps of the church and along the side of the road as close to 100 bik­ers, with white rib­bons and bal­loons adorn­ing their mo­tor­bikes, did a drive-by in trib­ute to the young woman.

Cor­nelius’s par­ents were over­come with emo­tion fol­low­ing the trib­ute, with her fa­ther salut­ing the bik­ers with a peace sign as they drove past the church. High school friend Caryn Voort­man de­scribed Cor­nel- ius as “a ray of sun­shine who bright­ened ev­ery sin­gle day she was alive. She was the purest soul on the planet”.

Fel­low stu­dent, Ryan de Kwaad­sce­niet, said: “Han­nah did not have one bad bone in her body and I can only hon­our her mem­ory by re­mem­ber­ing all the good things about her.”

For­mer Stel­len­bosch mayor, Con­rad Sidego, said he came to the me­mo­rial as both a con­cerned cit­i­zen and as a par­ent.

“This child who died and is buried to­day could have been any child. What is of great con­cern for me is the fact that we must con­sider the moral fi­bre of South Africa be­cause it is break­ing down. This is just an­other ex­am­ple of how our moral fi­bre is break­ing down. To­day it’s Han­nah Cor­nelius. A week or so ago it was Court­ney Pi­eters, and some weeks ago it was Karabo (Mokoena) in Johannesburg. We have to do some­thing and our lead­er­ship should re­ally take it very se­ri­ously.”

Four sus­pects who were ar­rested for the rape and mur­der, ap­peared in the Stel­len­bosch Mag­is­trate’s Court this week. Eben van Niek­erk, 27, Ver­non Wit­booi, 32, Ger­aldo Parsons, 26, and Nash­will Julies, 28, will make their next ap­pear­ance on July 28.

Han­nah Cor­nelius

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