THE life and achievements of a gifted young Swazi athlete, who was brutally murdered a few months ago, will be commemorated each year at An Ríocht Athletic Club in Castleisland, where a perpetual shield which bears her name will be awarded annually to the best female athlete.
Samkelisiwe Phiri was a member of the Swazi athletic team coached by Ballydesmond native Fr Martin McCormack.
A few weeks before her death, she had represented her country in the national championships, winning three gold medals for sprints.
Samu disappeared on her way home from a training session, and her dismembered body was found some days later near her home.
"Funerals happen early in the morning in Swaziland", Fr. McCormack explained. "At 4am I went to collect her remains from the local funeral home.
"Together with her grandmother I placed the plastic bag of her bones in the coffin and then watched as her grandmother placed Samu's few belongings around the body.
"As the coffin was closed, I had a pain in my heart for this helpless child who died so violently.
"A photo I had taken of her in an Irish hat was placed on top of the coffin."
When Fr Martin's friend Gerard Hartmann, of the Hartmann International Sports Injury Clinic, who is based in Limerick, heard Samu's story, he contacted Sports Journalist and Radio Kerry Presenter, Weeshie Fogarty.
It was Weeshie who subsequently approached management at An Ríocht about organising a shield in Samkelisiwe's memory.
Fr. McCormack plans to bring an athlete from Swaziland to the Castleisland Club next year, and will also run a national athletic event in Swaziland in 2013 in Samu's memory.
"Sadly, no one will ever be arrested for her death", he said.
"It's up to me to make sure she is not forgotten".