We remember Zolile Khumalo

Zolile Khumalo, 21, whose murder has left university students angry and devastated. Picture: Supplied

Zolile Khumalo, 21, whose murder has left university students angry and devastated. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 23, 2018


Zolile Khumalo, 21, was a first-year quantity surveying student at the Mangosuthu University Of Technology in Durban. The popular student, described by her peers as their "Babes Wodumo", lived at an off-campus varsity residence in Lonsdale. By all accounts she was good looking and really popular. At home, her mother Princess looked forward to their regular telephone chats where they exchanged news of friends and family.

On May 1 this year, while most students were enjoying a day off from classes, Zolile spent some time with friends before settling down to do some studying. Nobody who encountered her as she was making her way to her first floor of the block of students flats could possibly know that they would never see her alive again.

A short while after saying goodbye to her friends, Zolile was allegedly shot dead by her ex-boyfriend Thabani Mzolo inside her room after the couple had broken up. 

From witness testimony at the subsequent murder trial, it appears that students in the residence across the road noticed something amiss as Zolile tried to escape her attacker. While their shouts alerted students inside Zolile's residence, the young woman could not be saved. 

Zolile's ex-boyfriend, who is currently on trial for her murder posted this message in Zulu on his Facebook page at the time: "Everything has turned into memories. If I could I would wake you up so we can talk and fix our mistakes. Unfortunately she left me before I could tell her that I forgave her."

The tragedy sparked fierce criticism about the lack of security at the residence and saw students vent their hurt and anger through a number of protests.

Princess is still struggling to come to terms with her beloved daughter's death and hoping that the trial will answer some questions about how a relationship between two young people who believed they loved each other could have ended so tragically.

Zolile will never celebrate another Women's Month, another birthday or another Christmas. She will not graduate with the rest of her friends. Zolile will never have the opportunity to see the dreams she had for herself fulfilled.

For Zolile's sake and the sake of women everywhere, if you know somebody who has committed an act of violence against a woman Don't Look Away

If you know a young woman's life is in danger, Don't Look Away

If you are able to help prevent another tragedy, Don't Look Away


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