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A South African mother was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday (Oct.25) for setting her sons on fire. Noluthando Nomavayi, 37, poured paraffin on her two sons as a punishment for smoking, and one child died from his injuries.

Both boys were caught smoking cigarettes in the yard in May of last year. Aphelele,9, suffered burns over 90 percent of his body and died at the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town, six weeks later. The older boy, Mnikeli, 13, managed to get away from his mother, and told a probation officer that he had forgiven her and would like her home as soon as possible.

Namavaji was charged with murder and attempted murder for the act which occurred during a “fit of rage.” She will not be eligible for parole for eight years.

Although the first-time offender was facing a minimum of 15 years, the judge shortened her sentence due to the child abuse which Namavaji suffered at the hands of her own mother. “In this regard I take into account the history of abuse at the hands of [Nomavayi’s] mother and the trauma that festered in her for many years. It’s apparent the accused suffered from depression that manifested itself in her equally brutal attempts at suicide,” the judge said.

Mnikeli has since been placed in foster care.


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