Deadly insult

Christinah Motlhabane
CONVICTED: Despite being found guilty, Khunou can smile...for now!

A woman who killed another for insulting her dead father when she refused to share her food has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Appearing before Francistown High Court for judgment last Wednesday, Susan Khunou, 29, who had been charged for the murder of 56-year-old Bonno Jokwe, sighed with relief when the charge was downgraded to manslaughter.

She was convicted of bludgeoning Jokwe to death with a brick in a brutal attack that dates back to 15 January 2016 at a yard in Letlhakane’s Phase 1 ward.

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While this was happening, Khunou’s toddler child watched on as his mother mercilessly beat the older woman to death.

During trial, it was heard the two women both lived in mud huts and, because they didn’t have proper storage space, kept their food rations with a mutual friend in the dusty diamond town.

Reflecting on the day that would turn her into a killer, Khunou indicated that she left for the friend’s house at around 6pm, carrying her child on her back.

“When I got there, I found her not home but there were two people in the yard. I asked for food which they gave me to eat with my child. As I was eating, Bonno arrived looking for the same person I was waiting for. After she was told she is not home, Bonno asked that I share my food with her but I told her me and my child were equally hungry that we cannot share,” testified Khunou, who was just 23 at the time.

Continuing her unsworn evidence, she claimed this refusal sent the other woman into a verbal onslaught full of demeaning insults.

“She even insulted my late father saying ‘marete a ga rrago’ (your father’s testicles),” exclaimed Khunou.

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“The two others who were in the yard then left, leaving us alone. As the insults made me angry, I started beating her, asking why she is insulting my dead father. Many people arrived and they started assaulting me so I jumped the fence, fleeing to my yard.”

Khunou was later apprehended and Jokwe taken to hospital but succumbed to her injuries the next day.

Other witnesses testified that after the accused was insulted, she struck Jokwe with a pot and proceeded to snatch a shovel but was swiftly disarmed.

Thinking the drama was diffused, the onlookers left, only for Khunou to grab a brick and start hitting the deceased over and over again in a frenzied rage.

Jokwe’s motionless battered body was found in a pool of red with a blooded brick beside her.

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Despite the extreme violence involved, when passing judgment, Judge Tshegofatso Mogomotsi found Khunou guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter.

“The accused person being seen lifting a heavy brick hitting the deceased, the intention was to kill. I am aware that the Basarwa tribe hold their late parents in high regard as they consider them as their ancestors. Insulting their parents in the tribe is not taken lightly, whether alive or dead,’ pointed out Mogomotsi.

“I conclude that the accused person was clouded by provocation by the deceased. I therefore convict her of manslaughter,” ruled the Judge, before setting sentencing for 29 March.

Khunou, meanwhile, was allowed to go home on bail as she has been cooperating with the police throughout their investigations.

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