When A Woman Kills Two Lovers

06 Oct 2014 17:40pm
By Patience Smith

KOËS, 06 OCT (NAMPA) – Visiting the home of Chrisna Hatzkin, a young murder convict, recently, this reporter finds Hatzkin's mother Christina Fredericks in the yard, roaming aimlessly under the influence of alcohol and crying, mumbling “my child, my child”.
She was referring to Hatzkin, her 28-year-old daughter who was just sent to jail for 16 years for killing the father of her two sons, Cornelius van der Byl.
More troubling is that Hatzkin is facing another murder charge of a second boyfriend she allegedly stabbed to death during the time she was out on bail for the first murder charge.
The slightly-built woman hails from the small, dusty southern village of Koёs. She went to school up to Grade Nine and has three sisters - one older than her and two younger.
She had her first son, Reginald, with Van der Byl when she was 18, and had their second son, Cornelius, two years later.
On 19 April 2008, at the age of 22, Hatzkin stabbed Van der Byl to death in broad daylight. The couple had been in an abusive relationship for a number of years and earlier that day, Van der Byl had fought with her, kicked her all over her body, and verbally abused her.
According to her sister, Theresia Fredericks, 30, who testified against her sister during the trial, the couple were both “slightly under the influence of alcohol” that day. Theresia cannot say for sure what led to the fight, during which Hatzkin stabbed the deceased with such force that she pierced his heart and a lung respectively. She stabbed him three times.
During sentencing at Keetmanshoop a few weeks ago, Regional Court Magistrate Sunsley Zisengwe conceded “The court accepts that you suffered severe emotional stress and added provocation by the deceased on the day of the murder. [Even so], you acted unjustifiably, and unlawfully when you decided to exact revenge on your partner.” He told her there is no excuse for taking the life of a person.
During her trial, Hatzkin acted both remorseful and nonchalant, at times just crying, looking downcast and wiping away tears, while at other times, she smiled, greeted people and on one occasion, burst out laughing.
It is hard to say to what extent she is a victim of violence or a perpetrator, but what is sure is that she is a product of her circumstances.
Her family home is in the poor informal settlement called ‘Soek en Kry’ in Koёs in the //Karas Region. Everyone in the family is unemployed, and her 50-year-old mother is undoubtedly an alcoholic, telling this news agency: “I have TB, but I can’t stop smoking and drinking”.
What the future holds for the two boys in the absence of both their parents is a bleak situation yet to be seen. However, it looks relatively hopeful at the moment.
During Nampa's visit, Cornelius, 8, was spending the weekend on a farm with an aunt, while Reginald happily played in the yard with a group of relatives and friends. The 10-year-old boy was raised by his maternal grandparents, but recently moved to his paternal grandparents, where he says he is happy. He often visits his mother’s side of the family.
His aunt Theresia says the boy copes well as he has a close relationship with his grandmother who raised him since birth.
They say it’s a different story with the younger boy. Grandmother Christina says he speaks of his mother often and cried the day his mother was taken away for incarceration. He keeps talking about going to see her.
At this point Theresia sighs and says the family is unable to visit Hatzkin in jail, as they simply do not have the money to travel out of Koёs.
But then she smiles, throws her hands up and says, “but the boys are fine. Life goes on, we will find a way”.
And that remains their hope.