Moepya Ward residents in Thamaga were last week Thursday woken to a bloody sight as the motionless body of 31-year-old woman slain by her boyfriend was found a few meters behind her parent’s yard.
Boitumelo Bapadile was tragically killed by her on and off boyfriend, 37-year-old Ishmael Matome of Morepo Ward who hanged himself hours later in his aunt’s house in Motlhabane Ward, still in Thamaga.
Walking into the Bapadile homestead on Wednesday, it was eerily visible that the sudden demise of the family’s first-born daughter was still hanging in their hearts.
Boitumelo’s 23-year-old sister Tsholofelonyana Motlogelwa narrated the night she would see her sister alive for the last time.
The visibly traumatized Motlogelwa says Boitumelo left home at around 8pm on Wednesday 7th hinting that he was going to meet with Ishmael on a rocky patch in front of their yard.
She remembers how she later heard the couple murmuring in the dark and assumed they were just having a friendly chat.
She later retired to bed and received an unknown call around midnight that startled her. “I did not know whose number it was and when I picked up, Ishmael told me to come and see my sister crying by the river, I asked him why she was crying and he said I should come and see for myself,” she remembers bitterly, adding that she fears she might have met her sisters fate had she gone earlier on that fateful night.
“It was only in the morning when I saw people gathering around the general direction of the river that something was terribly wrong,” she says gasping for air and clutching at her chest.
Tsholofelonyana explains that she went over to the crowd with a dreadful feeling that her sister was the object of the commotion.
“I was three-four steps away and realised that the heap on the ground was a human being wearing the same striped tights that Boitumelo left home wearing the previous night. As I got closer I stooped in my tracks and blacked out at the realization that my elder sister was dead,” she says, fighting back tears.
Boitumelo’s 59-year-old father, Mopati Bapadile narrated that he noticed deep cuts on Boitumelo’s neck, which he believes were made using a bloody shard of a broken mayonnaise glass bottle found at the crime scene.
“O ne a mo kgaotse ditshika tsa molala go setse kgokgotsho hela, hampore amo lokolla tlhogo (he had cut the muscles around her neck leaving the oesophagus, he could have easily decapitated her),” he recalls the state he saw his daughter in at the Thamaga Hospital morgue.
He remembers that his daughter’s relationship to Ishmael had always been plagued by incessant fighting.
“They always had differences though they never really wanted to break away from each other,” he said nostalgically, remembering an instance where the two were advised by elders of both families back in 2015 to end the relationship as it had become toxic.
The lovebirds couldn’t have it that way and continued with their relationship despite their parent’s advice.
“Just a few months back, they met disembarking a bus from Gaborone at the bus stop and upon realising that they had been in the same bus together an argument ensued,” remembered the grief-stricken father, who continued that in the fight, Ishmael had plucked braids from Boitumelo’s head, smashed her new phone and followed her home where the fight continued.
The grieving father noted that the rising cases of murder, especially amongst the youth were of great concern as children do not heed to their parent’s warnings about the complexities of relationships.
He advised youth to desist from cohabiting and implored them to hold high, the sanctity of marriage.
The Matome household is not spared of the sorrow as they also grief for their only son, Ishmael.
Speaking to The Voice, the deceased’s sisters, Tshegofatso Matome (33) and Keabetswe David (30) said they were shocked at the incident and were hurt that they never realized that their brother was having problems.
“We have always known about their constant fights but never saw it coming to this,” says a visibly shaken Matome, who adds that the couple even had cases registered with the Police and the customary court.
Thamaga Police Assistant Superintendent Elias Magosi confirmed two incidents. “Investigations on the matter are still fresh and I cannot comment further on the issue,” he said.
Boitumelo Bapadile is expected to be laid to rest on Friday, 16th February while Ishmael Matome will be buried the following day, Saturday.