She was just eight years old when she was raped, choked, scissors driven into her heart, and left for dead at a graveyard by an HIV-positive sexual predator.
At the time, the Daily Voice reported how the little girl miraculously survived her ordeal by pretending to be dead. Even when her attacker came back to take her underwear and shoes as trophies.
He was caught and sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2005, on charges of attempted murder, abduction, rape and indecent assault.
Over the next 15 years, the girl worked hard to put the trauma behind her and, thankfully, she did not contract the deadly HIV virus from her attacker, after months of testing and medicating.
But what the now 23-year-old did not know was that her attacker was released on parole last year.
And last week, he roared back into her life when he was arrested for the murder of another little girl, 12-year-old Michaela Williams of New Horizon in Pelikan Park.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Voice, the beautiful young woman says she is ready to share her story in the hope that it can save another young girl or woman’s life.
“It was a day I will never forget but it is my testimony that I want to share with women and children out there, so I can encourage them to be brave,” she says.
She says the moment she read about Michaela’s murder in the Daily Voice, she knew the killer was the same man who brutally raped and attacked her 15 years ago. She says the scars on her body will forever be a reminder of the day she fought to live.
On 7 January, Michaela disappeared while playing in front of her home.
Two days later, detectives arrested the 48-year-old man from New Horizon who led cops to where he had allegedly raped and killed Michaela and left her body, in 9th Avenue, Schaapkraal.
She had been bludgeoned to death with a concrete slab which was found at the scene.
On Monday, the suspect was charged with her rape and murder and is expected back at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on 14 April.
The court ruled that the suspect may not be identified until the investigation is complete.
The 23-year-old woman says 26 February 2005 is a day she will never forget.
The suspect was a friend of the family, and they all lived in Hyde Park informal settlement in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain. She had asked her mother for 50c to buy a bompie at a local tuck shop, where she was approached by the suspect who asked her to go with him to get money from a friend’s home just after 6.30pm.
“I asked if my parents knew and he said yes,” she recalls. “He placed me on his shoulders and began walking until we reached the graveyard.
“I wanted to get off but he would not let me.
“In that bush, he raped me, choked me, he stabbed me with scissors in the heart and beat me until I was unconscious.”
She recalls waking up in the dark, her eyes bloodshot, hardly being able to breathe and clinging to life.
“I had passed out and when I woke, it was like God and his angels were protecting me.
“I could hardly breathe but I knew I had to make like I am dead because when he came back, he lifted my body to make sure I am dead.”
She miraculously survived through the night.
Twelve hours later, weak and bleeding but alive, she bravely crawled out of the bush: “I could not walk, I had to use sticks.”
Shocked residents found her and someone recognised her and called her mother.
“I can still see it… how red my eyes were. I had to have heart surgery,” she says.
She still gets emotional when she recalls how her attacker took her underwear.
“When I left that bush, I had no panties or shoes and we learnt later that the panty was bloodstained and he gave it to his girlfriend.”
The victim’s mother, Patricia Japhta, who has been supporting Michaela’s mom Beatrice Adams at court, says the girlfriend later approached her at the cop shop to ask whether her daughter was dead and she said yes.
Patricia says she was so angry at the woman for siding with her berk that she klapped her. The girlfriend was never charged.
The young woman now hopes her attacker will be jailed for life.
“He is a serial killer, they gave him a chance and look at what he did,” she says.
“He thought he killed me but I survived. Michaela looked like me, he lured her to the bush as the sun was ready to set, it was like my story all over again.”