Miss­ing city var­sity stu­dent found

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - News - BENIDA PHILLIPS STAFF REPORTER

AF­TER a four-day or­deal a miss­ing 22-year-old Green­point univer­sity stu­dent, Thandiwe Jo­bela, has been found.

Thandiwe went miss­ing on Sun­day evening while on her way to her sis­ter’s house in Di­a­mond Park.

The Jo­bela fam­ily home was yes­ter­day filled with fam­ily, neigh­bours and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, all cel­e­brat­ing Thandiwe’s safe re­turn.

Thandiwe ap­peared teary and vis­i­bly trau­ma­tised. She stayed in a room in­side the house, away from the pub­lic. She did not speak to any­one.

Her fam­ily also chose not to com­ment any fur­ther on the mat­ter ex­cept to say that they are re­lieved that she has re­turned home alive.

Her mother, Sharon Jo­bela, was ec­static and re­peat­edly ut­tered “thank you God”.

The Jo­bela fam­ily had ear­lier yes­ter­day dis­tanced them­selves from a voice note that has been cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia stat­ing that Thandiwe had been grabbed and shoved into a car.

In the voice clip, a woman is heard say­ing that the young stu­dent was be­ing held cap­tive and that her mother had been ad­mit­ted to an in­ten­sive care unit (ICU).

Ac­cord­ing to Sharon, she last saw her daughter on Sun­day.

She said that Thandiwe was sup­posed to go to a sleep­over at her sis­ter’s house in Di­a­mond Park.

“I left for a night vigil and left Thandiwe and the other chil­dren at home. I know she was sup­posed to head to her older sis­ter’s place and would spend the night there. She was ac­tu­ally sup­posed to have gone to her sis­ter’s place on Satur­day but her sis­ter was at­tend­ing a bridal shower and was not home. They then de­cided that she would go the next day. It was not out of the or­di­nary as she al­ways used to spend some days at her older sis­ter’s house when she was in Kimberley. The two of them were very close,” said Sharon.

She added that it was not in her daughter’s char­ac­ter to just go off with­out let­ting any­one know and she was shocked when she found out that Thandiwe never showed up at her des­ti­na­tion.

“Thandiwe had packed an overnight bag con­tain­ing some toi­letries and her py­ja­mas. She did not pack a big bag as she also has clothes at her sis­ter’s place. She and her friend walked to­gether when she went to her sis­ter’s place. The friend walked with her up to the cor­ner of the high school and then they went their sep­a­rate ways. The friend said that was the last time she saw my daughter.”

Sharon said that she tried to call Thandiwe later that evening.

“When I ar­rived home from the night vigil I was told that Thandiwe had left for her sis­ter’s place. I told the chil­dren at home that if Thandiwe had left then they could lock the gate. I called her but her phone was off. I called her sis­ter ask­ing if Thandiwe was there. Her sis­ter said she was not there. I did not panic at first as I did not know the ex­act time that she had left. I knew that the walk to her sis­ter’s place was about 20 minutes.”

She said she be­came wor­ried when she was un­able to reach Thandiwe the next day.

“The next morn­ing I again called Thandiwe. I found it odd that her phone was still off. I called her sis­ter and she said Thandiwe never showed up.”

Sharon said they then im­me­di­ately called all her daughter’s friends.

“The friend who walked her half­way told us that they said their good­byes at the cor­ner of the school and that Thandiwe walked off in the di­rec­tion of Di­a­mond Park. We then con­tacted all her other friends and they in­di­cated that they had not seen her. We even con­tacted her boyfriend, who said that he was out of town at­tend­ing a fu­neral and had last spo­ken to her on Sun­day af­ter­noon.”

She said that the in­ci­dent has been ex­tremely stress­ful for her fam­ily.

She added that the Univer­sity of the Free State (UFS) had of­fered them as­sis­tance in the mat­ter.

“Thandiwe is a fi­nal-year stu­dent in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sci­ence at UFS. She wrote her fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tion in Au­gust. She is sup­posed to grad­u­ate in De­cem­ber this year. The univer­sity’s pro­tec­tion ser­vices reached out to us and said they would as­sist in the search for her,” Sharon said.

Kimberley po­lice spokesper­son Sergeant Dikeledi Gopane said yes­ter­day that Thandiwe was found in Galeshewe.

“We re­ceived in­for­ma­tion be­fore 5pm on Oc­to­ber 8, 2020 (yes­ter­day) that Jo­bela was found at a house in Galeshewe by mem­bers of the Tac­ti­cal Re­sponse Team (TRT). She was found in a safe state. No­body has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the mat­ter,” said Gopane

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