Groom hangs himself the day before he was due to marry
Last Wednesday, 33-year-old Mmapula Mosimane went to bed a happy woman.
The following day she was due to marry her childhood sweetheart, the father of her three children and the love of her life, 36-year-old Seolelseng Rathapelo.
Sleep did not come easy that night, as the Thamaga-native struggled to contain her excitement ahead of the biggest day of her life, a day she had been dreaming of for as long as she could remember.
Indeed, Mosimane’s life was about to change forever – sadly it was not in the way she imagined.
On Thursday morning, she awoke to the news that her fiancée’s still warm body had been found hanging from a tree.
Rathapelo, who worked as a policeman in Motokwe village in Kgalagadi North, committed suicide hours before he was due to walk down the aisle.
His actions would effectively make his would-be wife a widow on her wedding day.
To compound Mosimane’s devastating confusion, Rathapelo left no note; the heartbroken woman has no idea why her long-time lover killed himself.
This Tuesday, The Voice travelled to the Rathapelo residence in Moshupa’s Lesulatholo Ward to further investigate the sad story.
We arrive to find a yard immaculately prepared in anticipation of hosting a big celebration.
The house has recently been painted and a traditional hut on the premises perfectly re-mudded.
It is only the sombre faces of the small crowd gathered in the compound that hints at the recent tragedy to befall the family.
After being granted entrance into the house, which is cloaked in darkness and despair, we find Mosimane lost in tortured thought, lying motionless on a mattress on the floor.
“I now believe that there is witchcraft in this world!” is her sudden greeting.
Mosimane’s eyes are understandably red and her voice cracks in anguish as she reveals that on the night he died, Rathapelo had earlier accompanied her to the tailors to collect her wedding gown.
She says Rathapelo seemed content and was looking forward to the wedding.
“I left him on Wednesday evening, he was happy! I am still shocked that he committed suicide,” whispers Mosimane, her words evident in her bewildered, lost stare as she struggles to comprehend what has happened.
“After hours of waiting on Thursday morning, I was informed that my husband-to-be is no more,” she adds quietly.
Mosimane explains that the couple were meant to tie the knot by signing a marriage certificate on October 26th at the Thamaga District Commissioner’s office.
The two families and the newlywed’s friends would then be treated to an extravagant feast to celebrate the union the following weekend, first in Thamaga on Saturday and then in Moshupa the following day.
Confirming the incident, Station Commander for Moshupa Police, Superintendent Oteng Ngada said, “All we know is that he was supposed to marry and that he was a police officer of the constable rank.”
It is a simple summary of a truly terrible tale.
For Mosimane, as she prepares to bury the man she never got to marry, one thing is certain – it will be a long time before she goes to bed a happy woman again.