Remembering Rita

In memory of Rita Elizabeth Kyriacou. 06 Sept 1967 – 20 Mar 1971

This afternoon I was working my way through this blog moving images and deleting posts that were of no relevance when I bumped into the post for Forgotten Children, dated in 16/09/2012. As I reread the post I realised that one of the children mentioned on that post died on 20 March 1971. 

Somewhere in that space is my 1st cousin (1 times removed), Rita Elizabeth Kyriacou who was born on 06 September 1967. I was 6 years old when she was born, and her family lived in another town, so I did not see her much, but what I do remember is a dark curly haired moppet that was very naughty and who doted on her grandfather. Her home life was a loveless one, the family being broken up when the husband had to leave South Africa for military commitments in Cyprus. They subsequently divorced in 1968, so it is unlikely that Rita knew much about her biological father.  

Tragically she died in a drowning incident on 20 March 1971, and was buried in Sterkfontein Cemetery in Krugersdorp. I do not know the circumstances of her death, but sadly there is no headstone to remember this small girl who never became a woman. I do not know whether her father attended her funeral, or whether he was ever notified. But she is probably long forgotten by her mother and everybody else. 

I did not forget her though and eventually managed to find her grave after long searches in the registers at Sterkfontein cemetery. The irony is that the only real love that she may have had came from her grandmother and grandfather, who are also buried in unmarked graves not too far from where she is. 

I like to think that somewhere there is a place where she went to and that she finally found the love that she deserved. There is no photograph of her, and no longer any real proof that she even existed. Did her father ever know about her death?  Does he have a faded picture of her?  

Rita, wherever you are, My family have not forgotten you. And while I only knew you for a short while, but you made an impression on me and you always were at Sterkfontein waiting for me to find you.

Rest in peace little one.

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