I gently moved Thabisa’s head from my thighs and laid it on the floor. I stood up and walked to our bedroom looking for her diary. I broke the padlock on her suitcase with a hammer. The diary was buried deep underneath her clothes.

At first I didn’t understand why she had taken such drastic measures to hide it from me. But then I came across three entries.


09:23 pm

Dear Diary,

My father beat my mother again last night. She is at the hospital and the doctors say they will keep her for a few more days. My father is watching TV and happily drinking beer like he has done nothing wrong.


12:30 pm

Dear Diary,

Last night, my father passed out in the living room with the TV still turned on. I woke up to turn it off but then I saw him snoring on the couch with the empty beer bottle on his stomach. I was disgusted and angry at him for the years of abuse he subjected my mother to. I grabbed a pillow from one of the couches and suffocated him with it. He fought helplessly as I overpowered him. Seeing him fighting for his life satisfied me. When he wasn’t moving any more, I put the pillow back and left the TV playing. I walked past my sister’s bedroom where she was in deep sleep. The police suspect natural causes. My mother will be free from him at last.


08:05 pm

Dear Diary,

It is the seventh day since Themba punched me in the stomach, causing me to lose my baby. This afternoon he came home drunk and beat me again. Our neighbours tried to stop him but he didn’t listen. I ran to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and stabbed him many times. My lawyer has assured me that I won’t spend time in jail because it was self-defence and there were many eye witnesses.

I tore out these entries and set them alight. Thabisa was not a saint but life had been too hard on her. I did not want to hurt her family more by letting them find out what she had done.

I grabbed my car keys, walked out of the house and drove into the night. I drove until I reached Monwabisi Beach.

I needed to think.

I fell asleep in the car until I was woken up by a police woman who was knocking at my car window with a gun.

I got out of the car, my hands up in the air. Another officer handcuffed my hands behind my back.

After telling me my rights, the police woman said, “You are very cold-hearted, Detective Pongoba.”

Thembeka had found Thabisa’s body in that morning when she went to our house after not reaching us on our phones. I confessed to killing Thabisa but I said nothing about her diary.

May her soul rest in peace.


I am now serving my sentence in Pollsmoor Prison. I am grateful to my lawyer for the fight he put up during my trial.

The autopsy report also strengthened my case. Thabisa had only one fatal wound and no defensive wounds were found on her body. The forensic team had also found the knife in Thabisa’s hand with her fingerprints only in it. We had just bought that knife and I hadn’t used it yet.

In the end I was found guilty of culpable homicide. I was given an eight year prison sentence, three to be served immediately, with five years suspended sentence. There is still a public outcry, however, as many people believe that justice wasn’t served. The prosecutor has sworn to appeal but my lawyer says he is ready with his own appeal.

I know the truth. Thabisa’s death was an accident. The important thing is that at least my mother believes me.

I swear to take Thabisa’s secret to the grave. No one will ever know what she did to her father.

Tell us: Simphiwe destroyed critical evidence that would have helped his case. Can you understand why he did this – why or why not?