South African Mother Praised As ‘Lion Mama’ After Fatally Stabbing Man She Found Raping Her Daughter

The woman was initially charged with murder, but prosecutors dropped the charge amid public outrage.

Police tape seen outside of a crime scene.
Carl Ballou / Getty Images

The woman was initially charged with murder, but prosecutors dropped the charge amid public outrage.

A South African mother is being hailed as a hero after fatally stabbing a man she found raping her daughter, and wounding two more men who took part in the attack.

The incident took place last year, but has just worked through the country’s court system. The woman had initially been charged with murder. As the Independent reported, the 57-year-old mother was alerted by a friend that her daughter was in danger one day in September 2017. After her calls to police were not answered, the woman armed herself with a kitchen knife and went to an abandoned house, where she found three men raping her 27-year-old daughter.

The report noted that the mother attacked, fatally stabbing Zamila Siyeka and injuring two other men. She admitted to police that she killed the man, and had initially been charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The charges led to a public backlash, with some locals dubbing the woman “Lion Mama” and praising her actions in defending her daughter. Others raised thousands of dollars for her legal fees, the report noted.

Prosecutors ultimately decided to drop the charges, and the two surviving attackers were each sentenced to 30 years in prison for raping the woman.

This week, the unnamed woman spoke out about the sentencing, saying she was happy that justice had been served.

“I am happy about the judgment. I’m relieved. All I want is for people to be punished for doing wrong,” she told News24. “The truth finally came out. Even if it was my own child who had done the crime, I would want them to get reprimanded for doing something wrong.”

But the woman dubbed “Lion Mama” also hoped that the sad situation could prompt changes in the most crime-ridden parts of South Africa. She told News24 that she hopes officials can create more spaces where young people can safely gather and “put their hands to use and be able to do something, maybe crime could decrease.” She also hoped that a greater focus on education could steer youth out of destructive lives.

“If the youth could get jobs and maybe the level of crime could go down,” the “Lion Mama” said. “I like it when young people are inspired, when they go to school. The key to life is in education. You find that most people who commit these crimes are people who haven’t gone to school, who didn’t get an education.”