Double devastation

Christinah Motlhabane
DEVASTATED: Gasebatho lost a son and a soulmate

Father and son killed while celebrating Independence Day *Two brothers arrested for the cold-blooded slaying

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A family have been left devastated by the sudden loss of their father and son, who were cruelly cut down at a bar while innocently celebrating Independence Day.

Minding their own business, 56-year-old Maniki Moses and his beloved boy, Bizah Gasebatho, 33, were reportedly ambushed from behind in a cowardly, deadly attack at Top City pub in Topisi village.

Their suspected killers, two brothers, Pheto and Donald Malema, and a third man, Atang Keletsosetse, are said to have pounced with frightening fury, striking their helpless victims with a knife and axe.

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Although the two men initially clung desperately to life, their injuries proved too severe, Moses dying in his hospital bed on 2nd October, his son following suit six days later.

Before breathing his last, Moses found the strength for one final, emotional bedside conversation with his long-time sweetheart, Bizah’s mother, Bafedile Gasebatho.

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Recounting her lover’s last words as best she can, the 54-year-old said he told her, “Bizah mistakenly stepped on a girl when he was dancing and quickly said sorry. I also asked for forgiveness on his behalf.

“We then sat down not thinking of anything bad as we knew the matter was resolved. I just saw my son falling down from where we were sitting. When I looked up, I saw a boy carrying a knife, another one an axe. It happened so fast and they attacked me too.”

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The grieving Gasebatho is speaking to The Voice from her home in Topisi, some 50km north of Palapye. With a big brown tent pitched in the yard, the house is easy to find.

It is Tuesday afternoon. Just two days have passed since Bizah’s death and the family are awaiting his post-mortem; only then can they start planning funerals for both men.

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Speaking between stifled sobs, taking deep, heavy breaths, sitting upright on her mattress, the widow bravely narrates the tragedy.

“I will never forget what happened, losing my son and his father at the same time. This is the most difficult time of my life. They left for the bar and I did not know it was their last time leaving our home. Around 2300hours, I heard a loud knock followed by screams on my door. When I opened they told me the devastating news that Bizah and Maniki were attacked by people,” she reveals.

Intending to rush to the crime scene, Gasebatho was distracted by a commotion at the clinic, and decided to head there instead.

“There were many people gathered there. It was bad; my son was lying on a white sheet which was now red with blood gushing from his mouth. His left side was torn and his head had a big injury which shows he was hacked with an axe.

“His father was lying on the bed with blood all over him too. I called his name but he did not answer. I went outside and prayed. It was very bad.”

The duo were taken to Palapye Clinic, referred to Nyangabgwe and finally transferred to Francistown Academic Hospital. Sadly, it was all in vain; neither God nor medicine could help.

“They brought so much joy to our home. Bizah loved dancing and his father would always be cheering him. They were good men and didn’t deserve this,” says Gasebatho, who had six children with Moses, describing him as the love of her life.

Leaving her to grieve in peace, The Voice spoke briefly to Bizah’s aunt, Tathego Orelebe, who called her nephew a lovely person, who obeyed his parents and did not like fighting.

Double devastation
GRIEVING: Aunt Orelebe

“He was a well mannered boy who respected me and everyone. We lost a lot, and all for nothing; what is wrong with these young people today?” demanded Orelebe, adding Bizah had a young son of his own.

Meanwhile, an eye witnesses who claimed to have seen the whole bloody ordeal play out, agreed to speak to The Voice on condition of anonymity.

“It happened so quickly. The older brother was carrying an axe while the young one a knife. So when the older one hacked, the young one butchered,” he said, adding the siblings have been terrorizing villagers for months.

Speaking to The Voice, Officer Commanding No 2 District, Paul Oketsang confirmed they have arrested three youths in connection with the double murder: Pheto Malema, 20, Donald Malema, 27 and Atang Kelesosetse, 20.

“They were arrested the following day; two of them are siblings. They were arraigned before Selibe Phikwe Magistrate Court on 4th October, when they were charged with the death of Moses and grievous harm for Bizah. This will be amended on the 19th when they come for status update. The accused persons are currently remanded in custody,” disclosed the top cop.

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