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Duped into raising another man’s child

Duped into raising another man's child
DUPED: Atang Kooneeng

*Man learns his 4-year-old daughter is not his *Cheating girlfriend’s family ordered to ‘pay back the cattle’

A young ‘father’ from Kanye is coming to terms with the crushing news that the four-year-old daughter he has been happily raising with his girlfriend is actually another man’s child.

29-year-old Atang Kooneng was duped by his lover and next-door-neighbour, Maitumelo Wamasori, 24, into believing he had impregnated her almost immediately after they started dating.

He has been living a lie ever since.

Narrating his tale of woe to The Voice recently, Kooneng admitted that back when he first found out he was going to be a dad, he had reservations the baby might not be his.

“The months did not tally because she delivered a full term baby when our affair was just seven months old. But since she told me the baby was premature, I owned up to the responsibility and accepted the baby as mine,” Kooneng explained, sighing sadly at his misplaced trust.

Fast-forward three years and, having watched ‘his’ little girl grow up, Kooneng’s earlier suspicions, which had long lain dormant, were proved to be devastatingly accurate.

The shattering revelation that the child was not actually his was exposed when Kooneng unwittingly overheard a heated quarrel concerning his paternity between Maitumelo and her aunt.

Duped into raising another man's child
CAUGHT IN A LIE: Maitumelo Wamasori

However, when he confronted Maitumelo she once again maintained he was the child’s father.

Unconvinced, Kooneng revealed he then embarked on what he termed ‘a truth finding mission’, which included taking the baby’s health card to the hospital where he discovered the baby was not delivered prematurely as the mother had claimed.

He further demanded a DNA test through the Magistrate court. The results proved beyond doubt that he was not the father.

According to Kooneng, he requested the DNA test because Maitumelo had filed a child maintenance case against him before the Magistrate court.

“I wanted to make sure that the child was mine before I continued paying maintenance for her because it was obvious I was being duped,” he highlighted unhappily.

Kooneng was speaking to The Voice moments after the two families had appeared before the Court of Arbitration, where the Wamasori family were ordered to return the four cattle they received as ‘damages’ for Maitumelo’s pregnancy three years ago.

In what turned out to be a heated court appearance, there was also a dispute over the number of cows that were owed – the Kooneng family claimed they had originally paid five cows whereas the Wamasori’s insisted it was just four.

Acting on an earlier agreement between the two families, court ruled that the payment should be made for the four cattle by 30 April this year, with settlement on the fifth cow pending.

During the proceedings, Maitumelo’s mother, Priscilla Wamasori said she accepted the DNA results and promised the family would pay back the cattle within the stipulated deadline.

She told the court that since it was Kooneng who owned up to the pregnancy, they had to charge him because he did not care for their daughter during pregnancy and confinement.

“The truth is we have received the cattle but we have used them and we will pay in monetary terms,” promised Priscilla.

Duped into raising another man's child
GRUMPY GRANNY: Priscilla Wamasori

“However, what is breaking my heart is that the Kooneng’s have now forbidden the child to enter their yard. We are talking about an innocent child here,” she continued bitterly.

The families’ homesteads are directly opposite each other and the child in question is used to running around between the two households of her grandmothers as Kooneng and Maitumelo still stay with their parents.

Meanwhile, the refund stands at P13, 200 for the four cows.

Further the aggrieved family had demanded to be paid back the P3, 300 they spent on the DNA test, but were told the customary court does not deal with such claims. They were advised to claim through the Magistrate court instead.