Hundreds of people packed into the East London City Hall last Wednesday to remember and honour the late Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels who was tragically murdered near Mdantsane on August 30.
The boxing fraternity, karate club members, members of the public, local government departments and Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) representatives showed up to pay their respects.
Family spokesperson and Jegels’s manager, Mlandeli Tengimfene, said Jegels’s light will never be dimmed.
“We will close the chapter with her good things that cannot be overshadowed.
“As a manager, I would say upfront that we have been failed, the system has failed us,” he said.
“One of the things we said on the interdict is, ‘Take this boy’s [Jegels’s ex-boyfriend] firearm’ and it was not taken. So that is why we say we feel we were not protected.” Tengimfene said.
Jegels’s competitive spirit of competitiveness and drive to achieve better started while she was in primary school.
In 2009, she excelled in Kyokhushin karate on national and international levels.
In 2014, she was recruited into boxing where she fought in nine unbeaten bouts, winning seven by TKO.
Department of sport, recreation, arts and culture (Dsrac) MEC Fezeka Nkomonye-Bayeni said they were very sad to to lose such a talented woman.
“We dip our heads in sorrow for we have lost a legend in the making. It’s so unfortunate she had to go this way – she died at the hands of someone whom she once loved.
“We are told about abusive relationships. Leighandre experienced this knew first-hand. We are told we need to apply for a protection order; Leighandre did. Even so, that man took her life,” Nkomonye-Bayeni said.
Masimanyane Women’s Right International executive director Dr Lesley Ann Foster said there needs to be a change in laws and government needs to ensure the safety of women.
“I am overwhelmed by the number of women who have died, 62 in August alone.” It is horrendous and we have to turn around the scourge in our communities,” Foster said.
In recent statistics revealed by the SAPS from April 1 2018 to March 31 2019, murders in the province have risen by 3.9%, from 3,815 to 3,965, putting the Eastern Cape at No4