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Missing city university student found

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Joy after missing 22-year-old Greenpoint university student, Thandiwe Jobela, is found

Thandiwe and her mother Sharon after she was found. Picture: Soraya Crowie

AFTER a four-day ordeal a missing 22-year-old Greenpoint university student, Thandiwe Jobela, has been found.

Thandiwe went missing on Sunday evening while on her way to her sister’s house in Diamond Park.

The Jobela family home was on Thursday filled with family, neighbours and members of the community, all celebrating Thandiwe’s safe return.

Thandiwe appeared teary and visibly traumatised. She stayed in a room inside the house, away from the public. She did not speak to anyone.

Her family also chose not to comment any further on the matter except to say that they are relieved that she has returned home alive.

Her mother, Sharon Jobela, was ecstatic and repeatedly uttered “thank you God”.

The Jobela family had earlier yesterday distanced themselves from a voice note that has been circulating on social media stating that Thandiwe had been grabbed and shoved into a car.

In the voice clip, a woman is heard saying that the young student was being held captive and that her mother had been admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU).

According to Sharon, she last saw her daughter on Sunday.

She said that Thandiwe was supposed to go to a sleepover at her sister’s house in Diamond Park.

“I left for a night vigil and left Thandiwe and the other children at home. I know she was supposed to head to her older sister’s place and would spend the night there. She was actually supposed to have gone to her sister’s place on Saturday but her sister was attending a bridal shower and was not home. They then decided that she would go the next day. It was not out of the ordinary as she always used to spend some days at her older sister’s house when she was in Kimberley. The two of them were very close,” said Sharon.

She added that it was not in her daughter’s character to just go off without letting anyone know and she was shocked when she found out that Thandiwe never showed up at her destination.

“Thandiwe had packed an overnight bag containing some toiletries and her pyjamas. She did not pack a big bag as she also has clothes at her sister’s place. She and her friend walked together when she went to her sister’s place. The friend walked with her up to the corner of the high school and then they went their separate ways. The friend said that was the last time she saw my daughter.”

Sharon said that she tried to call Thandiwe later that evening.

“When I arrived home from the night vigil I was told that Thandiwe had left for her sister’s place. I told the children at home that if Thandiwe had left then they could lock the gate. I called her but her phone was off. I called her sister asking if Thandiwe was there. Her sister said she was not there. I did not panic at first as I did not know the exact time that she had left. I knew that the walk to her sister’s place was about 20 minutes.”

She said she became worried when she was unable to reach Thandiwe the next day.

“The next morning I again called Thandiwe. I found it odd that her phone was still off. I called her sister and she said Thandiwe never showed up.”

Sharon said they then immediately called all her daughter’s friends.

“The friend who walked her halfway told us that they said their goodbyes at the corner of the school and that Thandiwe walked off in the direction of Diamond Park. We then contacted all her other friends and they indicated that they had not seen her. We even contacted her boyfriend, who said that he was out of town attending a funeral and had last spoken to her on Sunday afternoon.”

She said that the incident has been extremely stressful for her family.

She added that the University of the Free State (UFS) had offered them assistance in the matter.

“Thandiwe is a final-year student in Communication Science at UFS. She wrote her final examination in August. She is supposed to graduate in December this year. The university’s protection services reached out to us and said they would assist in the search for her,” Sharon said.

Kimberley police spokesperson Sergeant Dikeledi Gopane said yesterday that Thandiwe was found in Galeshewe.

“We received information before 5pm on October 8, 2020 (yesterday) that Jobela was found at a house in Galeshewe by members of the Tactical Response Team (TRT). She was found in a safe state. Nobody has been arrested in connection with the matter,” said Gopane