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A mother’s pain

STRUGGLING TO COPE: Kabelo is a mother in mourning
STRUGGLING TO COPE: Kabelo is a mother in mourning

Mum buries two murdered daughters in 11 months

65-year-old Mosetsanagape Kabelo is a woman in despair.

Last Tuesday, her life was torn apart again, experiencing a horror that no parent should ever have to live through. It is a pain the mother-of-seven has faced twice in less than a year.

At the weekend she laid her daughter, Omphile Kabelo, to rest. She was raped and killed four days earlier, reportedly abused and murdered by two men she knew well.
It is the second time the old woman has had to bury a slain child.

In October last year, Omphile’s younger sister, Botshelo Kabelo, was hacked to death by an axe-wielding thug at the family home in Moshupa. Kabelo witnessed the entire attack, an assault so violent that Botshelo’s head was cut clean off her body.

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DEVESTATED: Mosetsanagape Kabelo

DEVESTATED: Mosetsanagape Kabelo

“I saw her head next to me and I took it and placed it next to her body in disbelief. I was chatting to her just a few minutes back, now she was dead. Today I have lost another child,” narrates Kabelo, the shock and hurt obvious in her weather-beaten face.

The mourning mother is speaking to The Voice from her home on Wednesday (15 September) afternoon, the day after Omphile was killed.

We arrive to find her in the company of two elderly neighbours. She is questioning why young men from their neighborhood would rape and kill her daughter. They are no strangers she says.

The emotional mother has lost hope in humanity and questions how mother-nature can be so cruel to a God-fearing Christian woman such as herself.

“How can I lose two daughters, a year apart, both brutally killed by men?” she asks The Voice, seeking answers we do not have.

Kabelo starts by narrating the latest incident, explaining she feared something was wrong when her daughter did not return home that night, something she would not ordinarily do.

“Omphile was killed by our neighbours, people she knew and hanged out with. It hurts because these are people we know and she probably grew up with them as they are in the same neighborhood,” reveals Kabelo, who learnt of Omphile’s tragic fate through her son, Dipako Kabelo.

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The 48-year-old had left home early in the morning headed for the clinic, but returned a little later accompanied by police officers and weighed down with shattering news.

“He says he found her naked. She had been raped, killed. I don’t know what to say really because I am beginning to question why such is happening to me. I have lost two daughters in a space of a year. The first one was butchered to death right in front of me, today two men raped and killed my other daughter. God what have I done to deserve this?” she wonders miserably, her face now wet with tears.

Casting her mind back 11 months, to when her hell began, Kabelo states simply, “I saw it all.”

HEARTBROKEN: Omphile's brother, Dipako

HEARTBROKEN: Omphile’s brother, Dipako

Pausing to compose herself and control her breathing, which comes in short, sharp gasps, she continues, “Last year, around the same time, in October to be exact, I was with my other daughter when a man walked in. We did not read much into him because I thought he was just like any other visitor. As soon as he approached us he unleashed the axe on my daughter. He repeatedly hit and butchered her.”

Although she screamed, begging for her daughter’s life, Kabelo says her cries had no impact on the intruder.

“He chopped her down without mercy,” she reflects, adding she will never forget the momentum she had to pick-up her daughter’s decapitated head from the blood-soaked soil.

For his part, Dipako tells The Voice that he found Omphile’s naked body at a neighbours house.

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“I was going on my usual morning as I was getting ready to start the day. On my way to the clinic, I was met by two of our neighbours who indicated they had something to show me. They directed me to that house over there (pointing in the distance) and they said my sister’s name and nothing further. Walking towards the house, I told them we had been looking for her. At the time I thought to myself maybe she is drunk and she is sleeping.”

Sadly, he was mistaken.

“When I got there, I found her naked. It looked like she had been raped and killed. I immediately rushed to report to the police,” discloses Dipako, still unable to believe what has happened.

The police have since arrested two men in connection with Omphile’s death while Botshelo’s suspected killer is awaiting trial.

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