It is the broad smile and sweet tilt of the head that meets you first from the picture frame. It is those clear eyes that remind you of someone you know, maybe yourself in your youth or your daughter, or perhaps a niece. Jesse Hess in pictures displays the beauty and innocence of youth. It is as if we can still reach out and touch her .. but the beautiful young woman is no longer here with us. She crossed over to the other side on the 30 of August 2019. She has become iconic of what we lose through violence fueled by the lawlessness in this country.
Jesse to me, as a woman of color, is a reminder of the fruits of democracy and the new dawn. She was everything women in this country dream for their daughters to become. She studied at the University of the Western Cape in the field of her passion, Theology. She was a fresh faced young woman who at the age of 19, had enough boldness to stand very pretty, but confident in a pulpit. She wanted to live her faith out in a bold manner. When I asked her aunt, Sandra Hess, what Jesse”s dream was she without hesitation said: Jesse wanted to live for God! How prophetic that her name means: God exist!
Today in the Supreme Court, someone Jesse knew will stand in the court as the perpetrator that ended the earthly dreams of a young theologian in the making. What would have been her contribution to this nation, if he was never released on parole? How many selfless acts will never be, because the young woman who dreamt of a life of service, was taken away before her time ..
Jesse, her name reminds me of an old song I listened to in my teens. It was a song by the same name, and the fresh-faced beauty in the music video captured the imagination. The beauty of her name stays with you, and the pictures shared by her family with our team captures that sweet, friendly and bubbly nature perfectly.
This month the ACDP will feature Jesse in our campaign as a reminder of the beauty she possessed and the great responsibility we shoulder to make this country safe, for the generation we raise as mothers and fathers.
Jesse Hess is more than just another victim of GBV, she is the beautiful daughter of Lance Hess and Brenda Miles, and the precious jewel of a child, raised by her maternal aunt Sandra Hess. She had a presence that made her aunt’s heart full and possessed that endearing charm that impressed upon you the beauty of her soul! Even in her pictures, it is almost as if you cannot look away from her easily, but are drawn in by her beauty!
She had the heart of a servant whose best times were the festivity of making meals, preparing gifts for others, and creating memories! What richness you must have possessed, beautiful child!!!
Jesse left this earth, with her Grandpa Chris Lategan on the 30 of August 2019. A day that shattered the normalcy of a family and reverberated throughout our nation. I still remember the cold shivers I felt as I listened on the phone to a constituent telling me what happened. I could not go to bed without reaching out to Sandra Hess. I really had no words for her pain and no consolation. I was gasping with anguish after I ended the call. I remembered the days after we learned about Hannah Cornelius, revisited how I tried to figure out was there not a moment that something could have stopped such an act of brutality from happening? I did not want to look away from her pictures as if this would convey comfort to her, and now with Jesse, I looked for answers, for this evil that lives in our homes and roams our streets.
South Africa as a nation is in trauma, collectively we are living through dark days of pain! The call for a different kind of leadership at all levels of society is evident. We must accept that we have a responsibility to change the trajectory we are on with urgency.
Jesse and Chris were safely in their flat on that fateful day, and most likely looking forward to the weekend of the church. Both lived for the ministry and were actively involved in all aspects of church life. Jesse delivered a sermon just a few weeks before her death!
They did not invite a stranger into their home that Friday, they opened the door to kin, family, and paid the highest price for it.
Jesse, we will never forget you, and in your memory, we ask God for many flowers to bloom: more young women to complete degrees and enter a life of public service, to live for God and show a broken world that He does exist.
This tribute is in loving memory of Jesse Hess and Chris Lategan!
We also wish to honour the team of detectives under Colonel Pretorius who ensured that these men who robbed the world of two beautiful souls, will face justice in the Supreme Court today.
Do you want to honour Jesse’s memory? We ask you to make a contribution to the studies of a young woman you know and who needs it and do it Jesse”s name. Let us know, by sending us a message of your pledge and who you are blessing with any amount towards their studies. We want to pay tribute through acts of generosity in the name of Jesse Hess!
The CEO of a dynamic global company asked me last year what do we do to change things and create a better South Africa? This was in the weeks after the death of Jesse and many other women in what can only be described as a dark August, women’s month! I answered and said by not letting the victims die in vain, but letting their blood speak of better things, for it is only light that dispels darkness! Practically get involved in campaigns and social programmes that improve women’s lives for the better in this country. Do you know that we still lose a lot of young women to drugs, and gangsterism because they have no opportunity for further advancement, because of a lack of funding for further education?
Make a gift contribution to a young woman who desires to study further and do it in Jesse’s name! For the next 16 Days make a commitment to serve this nation and dispel darkness through an act of light!! Pay towards a female student’s registration fees or studies. Find out if a single mother is struggling with school fees for her children and make a donation towards their education!
Do it in the name of Jesse Hess! And then let us know!
Loop Mooi Jesse, Kaapse Meisiekind, Pragmens met n hart van Goud! God se Liefling!
Marie Sukers, MP