Service in memory of slain Janika

People at the memorial service.

There was not a dry eye at Northwood Primary School in Woodlands where a memorial service was held for 14-year-old Janika Mallo, who was raped and killed 10 days ago.

Janika’s bludgeoned body was dumped in the yard of her grandmother’s house in Heinz Park (“Anger over ‘justice failure”, Plainsman, September 4) on Sunday September 1.

Speaking at the memorial service on Wednesday September 4, Joan Woodman, the ward councillor for Ward 75 (Colorado Park, Morgen’s Village, Westgate, Wildwood, Rondevlei Park, Woodlands, parts of Weltevreden Valley, parts of Philippi, Highlands Village, Hyde Park, Westgate and New Woodlands) said she honoured the teachers who took care of the community’s children.

Addressing Janika’s family, she said: “All the words may mean nothing to the family, but God will protect you.”

Janika’s mother, Janine Mallo, 31, from Heinz Park said her daughter was a happy girl, always laughing, making jokes and dancing. “I will miss my daughter, I feel like I don’t want to be alive. I feel for other mothers going through what I’m going through. It’s not nice to lose a child,” she said.

Janika’s father, Marlon Koopman, 38, from Heinz Park, thanked all those who were supporting them. “Words hurt but it also brings love in our hearts. We always need to think about the good.” Mr Koopman said everything felt like a dream he needed to wake from.”This should not happen to anyone – I would not wish this on my worst enemy,” he said.

Mr Koopman urged people in the community to stand together to fight the scourge of violence. “We need to do all we can to stop this so that it never happens again,” he said.

Janika’s Grade 6 class teacher, Terri Dowries from Westgate went to the crime scene where Janika’s body was found. It was gruesome, she said.

Ms Dowries’ last lesson with Janika in class had been about being kind. “Janika was not a problem child in my class – she was easy to work with. She was respectful and obedient.”

Ms Dowries said thiswas the first time she had experienced something so heinous. “My pupils cry randomly because they miss Janika. “I will miss her presence in class … Janika has made an impact on my life,” she said.

The memorial service was also attended by Wynberg Boys’ High vice-principal: service Rodney Inglis, senior boys and a delegation of staff. The Wynberg Girls’ and Boys’ high schools called for all pupils and staff to wear black on Thursday September 5 and to donate as much as they could to a fund to support Janika’s family.

In a message to the school community, principal Jan de Waal said the gruesome news of Janika’s murder, a pupil at a school in the same circuit as Wynberg Boys’, had caused a groundswell of outrage and protest. Mr De Waal said they stood with the women of South Africa and are committed to building a strong, ethical foundation by helping their boys and young men make responsible choices and to live honourable lives.

Speaking at Janika’s memorial service, Mr Inglis said as boys and men they abhorred violence against women and girls. “As boys and men we intend to spread that message that we will do everything in our power to work against males carrying out violence,” he said.