“They killed daddy,” were the only words Ibtisaam Williams heard when her mother, Koelsum Dennis, 70, collapsed in her arms.
Just moments earlier, armed robbers had attacked Ms Dennis and her husband, Hashim, 75, in their Northpine home.
Clutching onto her young kids in her bedroom in the early hours of last Friday, Ms Williams heard screams and bangs as her father fought the attackers who had broken into the separate entrance in Conifer Close.
According to the family, Mr Dennis was stabbed in the chest and left for dead while Ms Dennis tried to get help after she was beaten with a gun against her head.
Ms Dennis suffered injuries to her neck and back and has a row of stitches across her right ear.
Ms Williams listened in horror to the violent encounter in her parents’ one-bedroom granny flat, and then everything went quiet. Moments later, her mother rushed into the main house.
“My mom was dripping in blood from her head, and I tried to make out what she was saying. Eventually, I heard her say they killed daddy, as I tried holding her up.”
Ms Williams called the police while trying to reassure her 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son that “everything was going to be okay”.
Ms Williams said her parents had been preparing for Fajir (morning prayers) when the attackers got in through the back of the house.
“They made a mess of my parents’ room, opening cupboards to look for money. They took their flat-screen TV off the wall, but made off with two cellphones and mt dad’s driver’s licence.”
Ms Williams said she had recoiled at the sight of her father’s bloodied body.
“My children are traumatised and we are going to send them for counselling. We can’t believe that this happened because my father did not deserve to die like this,” she said with a knot in her throat.
On Thursday, she had bought the family take-aways for supper and had watched in awe as her father enjoyed his burger – his favourite meal.
“We spoke to him, but he was just so into his burger, enjoying every bit of it. I never knew it was the last timeI’d be sitting down with my dad.”
Ms Williams said she would now tend to her father’s vegetable garden , from which he had enjoyed harvesting spinach and sharing it with people at the mosque.
“My dad was a good man, so very kind and humble. He always saw the good in people.”
Ms Dennis, whose 70th birthday was on Monday February 3, said she was only starting to piece together what had happened on that tragic morning.
“I blacked out for a moment after they (attackers) hit me with the gun, thereafter I couldn’t see my husband, and I knew something bad had happened to him.”
She remembers being pulled and shoved to the ground when the attackers came into the room before they knocked her unconscious.
“They were dressed in black and wore black scarves over their faces.”
Ms Dennis said she had had a “fantastic husband” who had always been polite and caring.
“He loved his children and grandchildren,” she said.
At the Janazah on Friday, family and friends of Mr Dennis gathered at the home as cries rang out. Mourners asked Northern News to refrain from taking photos.
Lindsey Schereka, the founder of the Northpine Improvement District, expressed his condolences to the family.
“Mr Dennis was well known in this community and did everything out of love for residents, without asking for a dime,” he said.
Northern News had the privilege of meeting the humble Mr Dennis last year when Northpine turned 40.
Mr Dennis was one of the first people to move into the homes in Conifer Close in 1979.
At the time, M Dennis boasted about starting the first residents’ and ratepayers’ association in the community and how he had helped with the inception of Northpine Primary School.
Mr Dennis is survived by his wife and three daughters, Wiedaad Arendse, Ibtisaam Williams and Samira Levy.
He has seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Kraaifontein police Captain Hein Hendricks said police had been called to the house at 4:20am on Friday January 31, where they found Mr Dennis had succumbed to his injuries after being attacked by two armed men.
They are still at large.
Police are investigating a house robbery and murder and are still waiting on the autopsy results to determine Mr Dennis’ exact cause of death.