MASERU — They say time heals all wounds. But a month after he buried his fouryear- old daughter, Teboho Motete, is still in pain. Motete’s daughter was brutally raped and killed in a case that shocked the local community in Sefikeng in Berea. He is battling to come to terms with his daughter’s violent death. He said the horror of his daughter’s death began “eating him up” after the burial. He has struggled to come to terms with the fact that her daughter was snatched, brutally raped and killed under his nose.
That thought, he says, will remain etched on his mind for eternity. Motete said although he had forgiven the man who killed his daughter, it will take him years to accept that his daughter was gone. Living without his daughter was turning out to be a daily nightmare, he said. “I have prayed to God that I and my family forgive the man who murdered her. But it is going to be hard to accept that she is no longer with us,” Motete said.
He said the reality of his daughter’s violent death only hit him hard after the burial. “I had remained strong from the night we found her dead until the funeral. The reality only sunk in after the burial. “The fact that I could not see her again haunted me. “I am feeling very weak. My body is sore and tired. I need medical help to get over my daughter’s death,” Motete said. He said he had always been concerned about the safety of his children in Sefikeng. Cases of child rape are on the rise in the area, according to Motete.
He said he never thought that her daughter could become part of the high crime statistics in the area. He remembered vividly the moment her daughter left home alone to buy sweets at a nearby tuck-shop. He never thought he was seeing his daughter alive for the last time. “We were always worried about her safety. But that day we were home with her. She was with us. We did not hesitate when she went to the tuck-shop to buy her sweets.”
Even when she failed to return in time, we thought she was just playing with friends in the vicinity, Motete said. It was only after hours had passed that we began to worry about her whereabouts. “Time went by and she was nowhere to be found. When night fell and she was still not found, I knew that something was wrong. “I could feel that she was in danger. It was unlike her to be out at that time and for that long.” Word quickly spread on the night of September 6 that there was a child who had gone missing. All this time, Motete said he was wondering what could have happened to her. Hours after fruitless search, some villagers in the search party came face-toface with a sickening sight – the lifeless body of the child under the weight of a deranged man.
The man, Poloko Ntsása, who is regarded by locals as mentally unstable, was found lying on top of the naked body of the missing child. Ntsása was later arrested by the police. He appeared at the Berea magistrate court on September 22 where he was remanded in custody. He is still awaiting trial in the Berea prison. When one man brought the lifeless body of his daughter, Motete said he could hardly believe his eyes. “I could see even in the darkness that she was dead. Her body was lifeless. Her limbs were hanging loose.” He said at that time he was filled with raw rage. “I did not break down at the sight of my daughter’s body. I just wanted the man who had killed my child to tell me why he did it.
“I felt numb, like I was in a nightmare. At one time I wanted to crush him with my bare hands. But then again I felt like I would not be respecting the soul of my dead child if I made that devilish man pay with his blood. “I even protected him from a mob of villagers who wanted to kill him in revenge for what he had done to my child,” Motete said. He said a post-mortem carried out on the body showed that his daughter was strangled, hammered on the head and raped repeatedly. He said it was strange that a few years ago he had rescued Ntsása when a car nearly ran over him. He was right in the middle of the road and there was a speeding car coming towards him. I ran and pulled him by the hand and saved his life. “Now the same man whom I saved has now brutally raped and killed my child.”
Motete said he would visit, chat and pray for Ntsása if he serves a prison term for his crime. “My family and I have forgiven him. We pray for him to come out a changed man. I wish to reconcile with him.” He said his family had since moved from Sefikeng to the Thuate Evangelical mission, about 12km away, in a bid to deal with their bereavement. “Maybe the move will help us heal. The old place reminds me a lot about her.”