Six months ago, 26-year-old Keletso Kgogobi returned to Gaborone for work, leaving her new-born baby boy in the care of her mother.
Keletso’s mum has not seen her since.
As her young grandchild grows – he is now eight months old – so to do Agnes Kgogobi’s frustrations steadily increase.
It is a frustration borne out of Agnes’ belief that Keletso abandoned her son, seduced by the ‘Gaborone city life’ and all its enticements.
It is also a frustration mingled with fear, as the unemployed 50-year-old is struggling to look after her grandson and depends on handouts from relatives and friends.
Currently residing in Molopolole, where she rents a small house, Agnes says Keletso does nothing to help with her son’s maintenance.
Desperate to locate her absent daughter, Agnes, of Lekgwabe village in Kgalagadi district turned to The Voice for help.
“Come back and care for your baby,” is Agnes’ direct, impassioned plea to her runaway child.
“The baby does not even have a birth certificate and every time I take him for monthly weighing the nurses demand the certificate. They have warned me that if I fail to bring the certificate they will stop checking her weight and growth progress!”
Agnes, who has sought milk rations from social services department, revealed she has tried several times to contact her illusive daughter but to no avail.
“She used to work at Molapo Crossing. I tried tracing her and her employer said she has long left. She has changed her mobile phone numbers and now calls herself ‘Peo Biscuits Kgotlhane’ on Facebook,” explained Agnes, adding she has sent her daughter several messages on Facebook which Keletso has ignored.
“Meanwhile I depend on good Samaritans for food and clothing handouts for her child,” continued the irate mum, her voice shaking with a mixture of rage and despair.
Although Agnes is convinced she laid a complaint with Molepolole police on the 13th of August, the then acting station commander, Salome Segale explained the complaint was not formal ‘in that the woman did not open a case against her daughter’.
Molepolole police station commander, Charles Mbengwa advised Agnes to come back to the station with Keletso’s photo so she can be traced.
“She has to file the case, but right now I cannot say much on the matter because a case has not yet been opened,” Mbengwa pointed out.
However, the top cop explained that under the Children’s Act, abandoning a minor child is a crime punishable by law.
“Negligence of a child is an offence and that includes leaving a minor with another person without pre-arrangement for that child’s care. In fact it is a violation of a child’s right to all sorts of care and protection,” Mbengwa warned.
The Voice tried to contact Keletso through her Facebook page but, like Agnes, our attempts proved futile.