The grey, pregnant clouds that hovered over Matsitama village on Saturday proved a fittingly grim backdrop as 13-year-old Phenyo Tefo Baeletsi was laid to rest.
A week earlier (6 February), the teenager drowned, losing his life in a watery pit deep in the thick bush that surrounds Tatisiding.
Described as a ray of sunshine by those who knew him, on the day he died the Form Two student is said to have had tea with his family.
Shortly after his parents left home, Baeletsi met up with friends at around 10am and headed for a swim.
According to Kutlwano Station Commander, Neo Serumola, he was in the company of four friends.
“They went for a swim in a pit that was left after the soil was dug up for construction. The boy got in the water first and his friends realised he was failing to come outside the water and they rushed to the nearby homes to ask for help. That is when it was reported,” narrated Serumola, adding that when the police arrived they found the boy’s clothes piled neatly next to the pit.
After a short search of the murky waters, police scuba divers retrieved Baeletsi’s lifeless body.
The youngster was immediately taken to Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital where he was certified dead upon arrival.
“I urge parents to take care of their children by being aware of their whereabouts, more especially in rainy seasons. Also, elders should avoid swimming, fishing or crossing where there is water because you will never know how deep the water is,” advised Serumola.
Following up on the sad story, The Voice travelled to Tatisiding’s Mmoroso ward where the deceased lived with his father and step-mum.
Although the family were unwilling to speak, a neighbour described Baeletsi as a well-behaved, polite child who enjoyed school and had many friends.
“He liked playing in the water as sometimes he would come home with wet legs showing he was swimming. It was not the first time going to that place where he drowned because he once went there with someone to fetch firewood,” stated the source, who asked to remain anonymous so as not to upset the grieving family.