81-YEAR-OLD THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN RAPED AND MURDERED
Naked from the waist down, an 81-year-old grandmother’s decomposing body was found at her Tonota home on Monday morning – it is thought the old woman was raped and killed two days earlier.
Sediretse Marape, a long-term widow, lived alone in Mohakamme Ward and was discovered by shocked relatives who had come to check on her.
The upper half of her body was hidden under numerous blankets and pillows, whilst her lower half remained uncovered and stripped bare.
This Tuesday, the day after Sediretse’s corpse was found, The Voice travelled to Tonota to meet up with the dead woman’s grieving family.
We are greeted by sombre faces and aching hearts.
After a short but heated discussion between themselves, the family agree that Busuthu Marape, 81 – the deceased’s brother-in-law – can narrate the details of the tragic event that has rocked their lives.
“What happened to my late brother’s wife is very sad. I got a call when I was at Tandabala yesterday from my cousin (Ricardo Marape, 54) asking me to hurry home as Sediretse ‘has a problem’,” begins Busuthu.
‘Has a problem’ turned out to be much worse than Busuthu could ever have imagined, as he ruefully explains, “I rushed home even though I did not know they meant death.
“When I got there I found people packed in my sister-in-law’s yard. And when I got in her room, I saw her body in a very disturbing position. Blankets and pillows were piled on top of her from the waist to the head. According to what I saw, I guess she was raped then strangled or vice versa,” surmised the old man quietly.
“We suspect the horrific incident happened on Saturday and she was only found on Monday. She stayed alone as her only child now lives in Palapye,” he continued.
According to Busuthu, the family believe they know who killed Sediretse and are confident the suspect will be arrested soon.
However, he stressed this will bring him little comfort.
“I am very sure that the suspect will be caught. I wish these were the times of ‘mamosadinyana’ where murderers were hanged.
“But these days things have changed. I know after my sister-in-law’s killer is arrested, in two weeks he will be seen roaming the streets as if everything is fine because of this thing I hate, this thing they call bail,” seethed Busuthu, his eyes tinged red and ablaze with both pain and fury.
Busuthu’s anger is amplified by the fact that ‘Sediretse was a caring, loving person with a big heart, who was kind to everyone’.
“Even after the death of her husband, who was a Station Commander, she remained with us well. Sediretse left a daughter and another child she adopted long back,” he concluded, his gravelly voice laced with emotion.
Another alleged eye-witness who claimed to have seen the old woman’s corpse before it was taken to the mortuary told The Voice the deceased was naked from the waist down.
“From the waist up it was piles of pillows. Her legs were left spread and that is why we suspect she was raped,” insisted the villager, who asked to remain anonymous.
Meanwhile, Tonota acting station commander, Ontibile Motladiile confirmed a relative reported the death at around 10 am on Monday.
“Certain things are under investigations so I cannot say much. We are waiting for the postmortem: I do not know when it will be ready as it has to be booked. I can only confirm that an 81-year-old woman was found dead in her house here in Tonota village,” Motladiile said.
For his part, Tonota chief, Bokamoso Radipitse expressed concern at the village’s escalating murder rate.
Radipitse is in little doubt as to who the main culprits are.
“Murder cases in my village escalate at an alarming rate. The year is still in its infancy but we have already seen many murders. And they are committed by the youths aged 17, 18 and 19.
“I have many distressing youths in my village. They rape children, elders and also kill them. I don’t know what to do with them,” grieved the worried chief.
Sediretse’s death is the third murder case recorded in Tonota since the start of the year following two fatal stabbings in January.