Woman’s two-year-old daughter ‘stolen’ last October
Helpless and desperate, 32-year-old Oratile Morris is living every mother’s worst nightmare – she does not know where her baby is.
The Tonota-born mum is terrified for the safety of her two-year-old daughter, who she claims was ‘stolen’ by her ‘abusive’ ex nine months ago.
She has not seen her daughter since and fears her former lover, 34-year-old Zimbabwean national, Nelson Mangena – who is also the missing girl’s father – has sold the youngster to child traffickers.
Ominously, it is not an unreasonable fear.
The Voice have learnt from Central Police Station Commander, Lebalang Maniki that a warrant for Mangena’s arrest was issued on the 6th of November on suspicion of child trafficking.
Nine months later and neither the wanted man nor the child have been found.
On Wednesday afternoon, looking gaunt and tired, the weight of the world lying heavily on her slender shoulders, Morris wondered slowly into The Voice’s Francistown offices to tell her tale of woe.
Her story starts on the 25th of October last year, when Mangena asked if he could look after the infant for a week – a seemingly innocent request he had made many times before.
“It was not his first time asking for the baby but he always took less than a week and brought her back,” reveals the stressed mum.
However, this time was to prove different, as Morris, who currently resides in Shashe Mooke, explains, “The following day I called asking to speak to our daughter but Nelson said she was sleeping.
“I took it lightly but two weeks passed and he kept coming up with excuses whenever I phoned to talk to the baby.”
Morris remembers she began to sense something was wrong when Mangena stopped answering his phone.
“I kept trying it for the whole day until he finally answered. I got angry with him, telling him to bring back my daughter. He replied that my baby was in Gaborone with his aunty, who is barren and likes kids,” she continues quietly, adding that the number Mangena gave for his aunt proved to be a fake.
Her face glistening with silent, uncontrollable tears, Morris says she then turned to spiritual guidance in an attempt to locate her daughter.
“We went to see a prophet at Borolong who told us he sees the baby in Zimbabwe.”
The prophecy confirmed Morris’ worst fears and when she discovered from Mangena’s bosses that he returned to work on the 29th of October without the baby, she immediately alerted the Police.
By then it was too late; Mangena had disappeared.
It appears the prophet’s prediction could be accurate as Morris reveals a friend of Mangena’s told her he had taken the child across the border to live with her grandmother.
“He told me that Nelson said the baby is in Zim with his mother and that he will bring her back when she is five years old,” she says, ruefully admitting this scenario is immensely more appealing than its sinister ‘child-trafficking’ alternative.
To add to her despair, Morris, who believes Mangena is now working in South Africa, reveals the Police came agonisingly close to catching her former lover in January.
“We got a tip off that Nelson was in Tonota. I told the police and we went to where he was staying. When we got there, we found him with his two friends and they all ran away after realising it was the police,” she says, sighing sadly at the memory.
Momentarily lost in thought, Morris pauses, before hysterically concluding, “Mangena is a violent person. He used to beat me when we were dating and threatened to kill me and run to his country, that is why I left him.
“I do not know what to think, I do not sleep or eat well – I want my baby!”
Meanwhile, a glum Maniki confirmed the incident, saying, “The case was reported at our office sometimes in November last year that a man, we suspect to be of Zimbabwean descent, disappeared with a baby girl.
“We are appealing to the public to help bring back the baby or help us catch Mangena.”