A mother’s anxious wait

Christinah Motlhabane
LEFT IN LIMBO: Kebonemang faces an anxious wait for answers

After 22 months of hell, stranger sparks hope for mum

DNA to determine if he is her missing son

On 16 October, barefoot, thin and covered in dust and oil, a middle-aged man was spotted wandering around Tonota, looking lost and confused, his clothes ragged and torn.

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Startled villagers immediately alerted the police, who in turn called Kebonemang Tshekiso.

It was thought the strange, seemingly mad man might be her long-lost son, Edward Tshekiso, 42, who disappeared in February last year.

However, the drifter was in such bad physical condition it was impossible for Kebonemang, 59, to tell for sure if he was her boy.

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To complicate the situation, the stranger’s mental state was in an equally poor state. Communicating in grunts, he was unable to identify himself, speaking only to ask for water.

At a loss, the cops took the duo’s DNA to find out if they are indeed related.

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A month later, and the results are not yet out, with the police unable to give a timeframe on when they might be released.

For Kebonemang, this new uncertainty is a painful twist after 20 months of suffering.

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A mother's anxious wait
MISSING: Edward Tshekiso(L),UNIDENTIFIED: The unknown man who might be Edward(R)

One way or the other, she is desperate for answers.

“I went to the police station on Tuesday (14 November), and they told me the results are not yet back. It was the second time checking on them. I want to know if he is my son or not. It is very difficult on my side.

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“Since the police took our blood for DNA, I am always worried sick. If he is not mine, I want to continue with the search; if he is, I want to take him home and look after him!” said Kebonemang, who last saw her son on 4 February 2022.

Like he did most days, Edward, described as a mentally stable, fit, loving father-of-two, had come round to visit his mum at her home in Manyanda ward. That afternoon, he left for Mosi cattlepost, some 1km away, where he was employed to care for the livestock.

Although there is evidence he made it back to the cattlepost, as his cellphone was recovered there, Edward has not been seen again since.

Despite the police and the public searching the surrounding bush extensively, both from the air and on the ground, not a single trace of the missing man was found.

All had gone quiet, until last month, when the unknown individual turned up unannounced in Tonota, sparking hope that Edward might still be alive, albeit a shadow of his former self.

In a brief interview with The Voice, Tonota Assistant Superintendent, Karabo Kgaodi, confirmed they were still waiting on the DNA results from the forensic laboratory.

“Sometimes it takes time to get them, but we hope they will be released soon,” said Kgaodi, adding the mystery man was taken to Jubilee Clinic, where he remains under observation.

A mother's anxious wait
FLASHBACK: Kebonemang\’s agony dates back almost two years
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