A piercing cry breaks the somber silence as a small coffin is lowered into the ground.
Hundreds have turned up to pay their last respects to two-year-old Kealeboga Monamodi, the little girl who was brutally murdered on Saturday.
The toddler’s heartbroken mother, Ompatile Monamodi weeps desperately as she says goodbye to her only daughter.
Ntlhantlhe village is in a state of shock. It is evident in the pained faces of the countless mourners gathered at Wednesday’s funeral.
The sleepy settlement, located roughly 70km from Gaborone, was plunged into the headlines at the weekend after the gruesome discovery of Kealeboga’s body discarded in the bush.
It is thought she was hit on the head with a stone and died from her injuries.
A local man and an acquaintance of the dead girl’s mother, 39-year-old Mothusi Ratshipo has been arrested in connection with the incident.
It is alleged Ratshipo, who appeared before Lobatse Magistrate Court on Monday, killed the infant after Ompatile rejected his love proposal.
When The Voice travelled to the family’s homestead on Wednesday afternoon, we find them busy preparing for the burial.
Kealeboga’s corpse was returned to them earlier in the day.
The family’s spokesperson, Andrew Monamodi explained they were still too hurt to share details of what transpired on the day their ‘bundle of joy’ died.
Trembling with emotion, Andrew, who is an uncle to Ompatile, said, “There is not much we can say at this stage. As you may be aware, the matter is still under police investigations and by making statements in the media we may found ourselves jeopardizing those investigations.”
A resident in the village, however, told The Voice that the suspect was not Ompatile’s boyfriend as had originally been reported.
“The two had been drinking together earlier in the day. He proposed love to her and she turned him down,” claimed the resident.
“The suspect was seen with the toddler. Later she was found dead near his place,” they added sadly.
The tragedy has left many in the village of Ntlhantlhe both shocked and angry.
One villager, who preferred anonymity, expressed her concern at the escalating crime rate in the area.
“There is a lot that happens in the village. We hardly sleep, it’s only that these issues never make it to the media!” she exclaimed.