Jenni Evans, News24, May 7, 2018
The last thing Rosalie Bloch would have wanted was for her murder to be used to stir hatred and animosity in South Africa, her son Shaun Bloch said on Monday.
Rosalie, 84, and her long-time partner Aubrey Jackson, 94, were found murdered in their home in Mowbray, Cape Town on Saturday, May 5.
“We don’t want people to be fractured, or more polarised. There is enough of that happening,” Shaun told News24 on behalf of the family that has been left stunned by the murder.
“That is the last thing she would have wanted.”
The family just wants the perpetrators to be caught so that they can “put a face” to the couple’s killer or killers.
When he could not get hold of them on the phone on Saturday morning, they at first thought the couple were being “typical old people” who forget to switch on their cellphones.
‘Who would do this?’
They were going to take them to a family function, which was supposed to be a joyous event as Suzanne is expecting a baby.
After 10 phone calls went unanswered, they became worried, and went to the house.
Rosalie was found in the front of the house, and Aubrey at the back, with a back window broken.
“Who would do this to elderly defenceless people?” asked Shaun.
As he spoke to News24 by phone, detectives were searching for clues inside the taped-off property, while builders continued with renovations at the house next door.
Friends were given permission to take a few steps on to the property to lay flowers and notes of condolences under a small tree.
A clothes horse with pegs on was visible on a balcony, and the curtains were drawn.
The path to the couple’s front door is through a low wooden gate off the road, set in a low brick and wrought iron wall, and leads past a faded ADT security service sign attached to a front wall, and up a flight of red steps.
It was the home that Shaun, his brothers Nigel, political activist Graeme, Lance, Guy, Hugh and sister Erica grew up in.
Over the years, the dining room table was extended to make space for the growing clan of partners and grandchildren, with “very lively debate” among the children who were brought up with a “strong sense of social justice”.
Rosalie was married to the late Cecil Bloch, a professor in plastic surgery at UCT, who did pioneering work around burn wounds and micro surgery on hands.
They divorced and his mother later began a 30-year-long relationship with Jackson, a divorced engineer with three children, Suzanne, Lynne and Lawrence.
Bloch said his mother was a practising attorney, and an activist against apartheid in her own right, in addition to mothering seven children.
She was also a member of the Black Sash, and Women for Peace, and often had to drop everything, pick up her lawyer’s bag and go to the aid of detainees who had been nabbed.
This included her own son Graeme, now an education expert, and Graeme’s wife, former United Democratic Front activist-turned-businessperson Cheryl Carolus.
Funeral, memorial being planned
Bloch and Jackson were very active and “feisty”, he said.
In addition to reading “anything she could get her hands on” and attending special lectures at UCT, his mother also did aqua-aerobics to help ease her osteoporosis.
In January the family gathered for a meeting with the elderly couple in the hopes of convincing them to move out of the house and into a place that would provide support for their changing healthcare needs.
There had also been “minor” attempted break-ins, and the family was also concerned about that.
“My mom had been 50 years in that home… and she seemed fairly adamant that she is going to live, and/or die in that home,” said Bloch.
She wanted to keep the home as a place that family could always return to.
A funeral and memorial service are still being planned.