An angel whose smile lit up the family home, was the way little Sonia Payi was remembered at her emotional funeral yesterday.
As hundreds of mourners poured into the Lilian Ngoyi Sports Centre in Kwazakhele to mourn the seven-year-old whose brutal murder shocked the city, her mother Bongiwe, 31, clung to grandmother Regina Payi, 66, for support.
Both women wept bitterly as they listened to her friends, family and teachers remembering the little girl as one of the sweetest they knew.
Sonia was abducted last Saturday and her body found in a field in Struanway in New Brighton – about 4km from where she had last been seen – shortly after midday on Monday.
She had been raped and electrocuted.
Ten Ebhongweni Primary School Grade 2 pupils paid tribute to their friend and classmate as they held up the letters of her name – Sonwabise – attaching a meaning to each letter.
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