Orphans aim high
Sisters mark loss of their parents
NOT A DAY goes by without Pietermaritzburg sisters Brunetta and Ronell Reddy thinking about their parents.
It has been a year since their father Desmond Reddy, 51, shot their mother Berisha, 35, then turned the gun on himself in front of their children at their home in Northdale.
The shy, but emotionally strong girls, orphaned by their parents’ death, spoke candidly in a rare interview about how they were affected and their will to succeed.
Brunetta, 18, studying business administration, said they were reminded of their parents every day.
“It hasn’t been easy for us. It’s taken a long time for us to get over the fact that they are no longer around. I miss them every day, but it gets particularly hard on special occasions such as birthdays and when people just want to take advantage of us because we are young and our parents are not around,” she said.
Following counselling, the sisters are now able to talk about what happened on that fateful morning.
Brunetta and Ronell recall their parents arguing at about 7.30 on the morning of November 1.
“It started out as a small argument and we don’t even know what they were talking about. The next thing, my dad went to his bakkie and took out a firearm,” said Brunetta.
Her younger sister Ronell, 13, said she pleaded with her dad not to do anything, but he wouldn’t listen.
“I remember going outside the house to talk to my dad, pleading with him not to do anything. Mom ran into the house, and closed the door, but he fired a shot and it hit her hand. People said my dad pointed the firearm at me because I was standing with my mother, but I don’t remember anything,” Ronell said.
Gunshots were then fired randomly and Ronell and her mother ran to get help at a neighbour’s house.
Brunetta was about to jump the fence to join them when she turned back and watched her father shoot himself in the head.
“We were shocked, frightened and screaming. Someone at the time said our mother was also dead. Then a policeman said she was okay, but when we went to the neighbour’s house, she was dead,” Brunetta said.
The sisters remembered how their family life went back to normal when their parents reconciled after a separation.
“We were all happy again and everything was going well,” said Brunetta.
Despite their grief, they have set goals that would make their parents proud.
“I was appointed prefect at school. I wish they could have been there. My aim is to focus on school, do the best I can, that is what my parents would have wanted,” said Ronell, a Grade 7 pupil.
Brunetta said: “I received a special achievement award in matric last year. I am currently studying through Unisa and I got my driver’s licence this year. We know that even though our parents are not with us physically, they are proud of us, wherever they are,” said Brunetta.
Had it not been for the support of their maternal grandmother, and aunts and uncles, Brunetta and Ronell said they would never have been able to cope. The sisters held a memorial service for their parents at their home yesterday.