Experts say teenager Zephany Nurse faces immense emotional trauma after reuniting with her family after 17 years. Zephany was kidnapped from Groote Schuur Hospital in 1998 at just three days old. Fate led Zephany to reunite with her family, after she unknowingly befriended her biological sister, who attends the same high school.The two bare a striking resemblance to each other. Zephany’s introduction to Morne Nurse, who she had no idea was her own father, raised his suspicions and led him to ask the police to investigate. The teenager’s true identity was later confirmed through a DNA test.
VOC’s in-house clinical psychologist Shahieda Carlie Abrahams said it should be expected that this young girl will go through a flood of emotions after her shock discovery.
“She will feel shock and denial, betrayal and depression. She would be joyful for discovering her family but she will suffer the loss of the family she resided with for seventeen years,” says Carlie.
Zephany had been residing with the couple as their only “child”. The fifty-year old woman who raised her has been charged with kidnapping and fraud appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Friday.
“It is highly recommended for all the role-players to attend counselling together with Zephany. Her family should not expect her to automatically adjust to their lifestyle but should rather seek guidance when approaching their long last daughter.”
Celeste and Morné Nurse, Zephany’s biological parents have never given up on her. They have celebrated her birthday every year since her disappearance.
“Zephany’s future includes lots of joy but everyone has to guide each other. She could later choose to have a relationship with her kidnappers and her biological parents should give her the space to experience her emotions while attending therapy,” said Carlie-Abrahams.
The Nurse family are said to be ecstatic to have their first born home. Zephany is currently in the care of social services.
Missing Children South Africa believes that these stories give hope to thousands of parents of missing children. National Co-ordinator for Missing Children SA, Nicky Rheeder said that it is incredible that she has been found.
“This is why we do what we do as an organization, in the hopes that somebody will one day see the picture, see the resemblances and say that they might know a particular person,” said Rheeder.
However, she warned it may be very overwhelming and organisations like Missing Children SA were there as a means of support.
“What we do works and we are really there to support the parents and loved ones right through to the end,” said Rheeder.
Often families and parents lose hope and become de-motivated because they feel that no one is looking for their missing relative.
“We have also seen very young babies being found after a year or two and not so long ago we have found a woman after 14 years of being missing. Miracles do happen,” added Rheeder. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven/Nabeelah Mohedeen)