A Rhodes University graduate was stabbed to death on Thursday while on her way to her graduation ceremony at the university.

According to the Rhodes University director for communications Lebogang Hashatse, the family last had communication with the woman at 2.30pm on Thursday afternoon. She was travelling from Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown for her graduation ceremony at 6pm that same evening. An hour later the family was unable to contact the woman.

The woman’s body was later found near Coega. It is assumed that she was attacked on her way to Grahamstown.

Police were unavailable for comment at the time of this post. The woman’s identity was also not yet released.

UPDATE (11:53 AM): The woman’s identity has been released by Rhodes University. Her name was Lelona Thembakazi Fufu, and she was due to graduate with her BSc Honours degree on Thursday night at 6pm. She was due to obtain a degree in mathematics/mathematical statistics. Read Rhodes University’s statement here.

UPDATE (1:33 PM): Communications officer for the Motherwell police station Andre Beetge confirmed that Fufu’s body was found near the old Coega hotel on Friday morning. He said she had three to four major stab wounds, and it is presumed she died of those injuries. Beetge said he could not yet confirm whether Fufu had been raped, as medical professionals need to complete an autopsy. He also could not confirm whether she had been robbed.

We will be in contact with Beetge throughout the day, as he gets more details from the investigating officer in the case.

UPDATE (1:54 PM): The Oppidan Press has chatted to one of Fufu’s lecturers, Stefan Janse van Rensberg of the stats department. Read about our interview with him here.

UPDATE (2:46 PM): Messages of condolences for the Fufu family have started to come in. Read the messages here.

UPDATE (3:32 PM): See the story of what happened to Fufu and the twitter response here.

UPDATE (5:00 PM): The Oppidan Press spoke to Dean of Students’ Dr Vivian de Klerk at the Rhodes graduation party about Fufu’s murder. De Klerk said expressed her “shock and sadness” about Fufu’s murder. “It’s the tragic loss of a young career, and a waste of a fine young life,” De Klerk said. De Klerk added that Fufu’s mother had collapsed and as in hospital in Port Elizabeth.

Follow @mishsolomon for more updates as we get them. Our sympathies go out to the family of the victim.

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