Zephany calls her ‘Mommy’

CATCH UP: Morne and Celeste Nurse say they are building a relationship with the daughter with whom they were recently reunited

Morne and Celeste Nurse are not going to insist on changing things in their daughter Zephany’s life.

Instead they are working on helping her accept them as her parents.

For more than 17 years Celeste waited to hear her eldest daughter call her “Mommy” and when Zephany finally did there was a deluge of emotion.

“To hear that for the first time … She said ‘Mommy’. Oh my God!” shouted the woman from whose arms Zephany – just three days old – was stolen in hospital in April 1997.

At a press briefing yesterday, Morne said when he had finally met Zephany last month “it was such a beautiful moment … it was such a beautiful day”.

“Zephany’s reaction? She was blown away basically. At the same time she was happy that she was found and thanked people out there who prayed for her homecoming.”

Media Briefing on Zephany Nurse’s kidnapping: Biological parents speak out- SABC Digital

Sometimes the couple called the 17-year-old “Zephany” but also used the name she had been brought up with. They were in constant SMS communication with her.

The woman Zephany knew as her mother until recently has been charged with kidnapping and was granted bail last week.

Zephany was found when her younger sister enrolled at the same high school as her this year. The girls were shocked at their strong resemblance and eventually the truth emerged.

Zephany was raised in Lavender Hill, a few kilometres from the Nurses’ home in Retreat.

Rumours abound that Morne and Celeste are separated, even divorced, and Morne said their marriage had taken strain over the years. But he would not elaborate.

The Nurses said they hoped their story would give Maddie McCann’s mother hope of finding her. The three-year-old Brit disappeared on a family holiday in Portugal in 2007.

“I am trying to get hold of the mother,” said Morne. “We want to tell them: ‘Don’t ever give up hope’.”

-Nashira Davids

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