A mother’s uncertainty

Christinah Motlhabane
CLUELESS: Kebonemang has no idea what happened to her son

Fit, healthy and happy, the Tonota man was last seen on the afternoon of 3 February 2022.

Like he did most days, the father-of-two had been visiting his mother in Manyanda ward before setting off for the short, 1km walk back to Mosi cattlepost, where he worked as a herdboy.

Although there is evidence the 41-year-old made it home that night – the following day his phone was found nestled at the top of a tree, where he routinely kept it for network – Tshekiso was nowhere to be seen.

Despite an extensive police search of the bush that surrounds Mosi cattlepost, including the use of a helicopter, there has been no sign of the missing man nor a single clue to indicate what may have happened to him.

Weary with worry, his mother, Kebonemang Tshekiso, 59, is clinging to the faint hope that she will one day see her son alive again.

“It is a year now, but to me, the mother, it’s a new thing every day. I hardly sleep. I have a feeling that I will see my son coming back home,” she defiantly tells The Voice when we visit her on Tuesday.

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In her desperation for answers, the old woman has turned to traditional wisdom, seeking help from the supernatural.

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It has proved a futile exercise, the prophets’ mixed responses adding to Kebonemang’s heartache and frustration.

“There is nothing difficult like losing a child who goes missing suddenly; it is the worst thing that I cannot even wish to my worst enemy. And it is the time where prophets and traditional doctors will tell you different things. Others are saying he is alive, others say that he is dead while some say they just see darkness which cannot reveal exactly what is happening.”

She has now put her faith in a higher power.

“I am putting everything to God and the newspapers to help look for my son, with prophets it is just stressing!”

For Kebonemang, the uncertainty is making her grief especially painful.

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“How can a man be missing for a year without a sign of bones or someone saying I saw him. Even if he was killed by wild animals, at least a sign has to be there – then maybe we could find some sort of closure!” she says, adding her son took medication for high blood pressure.

Described as a loving father, Tshekiso’s disappearance has hit his children hard.

“My son going missing affected his daughter badly; she failed her Form Three last year because of stress. As the family we do not know what to think or what to tell the kids about their uncle and father,” Kebonemang concludes helplessly, holding back the tears that have flowed freely for much of the last year.

Sending out yet another SOS, Tonota Station Commander, Oteng Ngada confirmed they were still looking for Tshekiso.

“If anyone can hear or see anything suspicious or that can lead to finding the missing man, they should report to us,” said Superintendent Ngada.

Last seen wearing blue dungarees, Tshekiso was of average height and build, and described as fit and mentally healthy.

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