GRANDFATHER WEEPS AFTER ABUSED BOY (9) HANGS HIMSELF
The troubled life of an orphaned nine-year-old Nata Primary schoolboy came to a tragic end last Wednesday morning when he was found hanging from a mopane tree.
Ntungamili Rekiso’s grandfather wept as he pointed to the place where the lad, who is said to have suffered at the hands of his abusive foster parents, took his life after a dispute over his monthly social welfare food ration. He will be buried this weekend without even a picture to put on his funeral programme.
A villager found 9-year-old Ntungamili Rekiso’s lifeless body hanging from a mopane tree a stone’s throw from his foster parent’s house in Nata last Wednesday morning.
Although he left no suicide note, neighbours and relatives have blamed his foster parents for constantly abusing the little boy, sometimes even denying him food even though he was granted a food ration from the council.
The lad’s grieving grandfather, Kgosimang Rekiso (71) said that he was convinced that the reason the boy had committed suicide was because he was being abused.
“What I have gathered from asking around is that my grandson was sometimes denied food, and he used to stay in the bush for days because of the abuse at home. I am also told that he had long warned that he was going to hang himself, but no one took him seriously because people never cared about his life,” Rekiso said.
The distraught man added that he would never forgive himself for having entrusted Ntungamili with the foster parents who are related to his late wife.
The old man, who is the children’s paternal grandfather and lives some distance away in Maitengwe village, said that since he lived alone he had agreed to let their grandmother’s sister take the boy and his two younger brothers after their mum passed away five years ago.
“Had I known that my grandchildren’s lives would be put at risk, I could have just taken them along with me to Maitengwe shortly after their mother’s death.”
The mourning grandfather went on to say: “After this funeral I won’t leave the remaining two boys alone here because I don’t want the same tragedy to happen again.”
Foster parent, Kemoetshoketse Bame however denied allegations that the boy took his life because he was being abused.
He described Ntungamili as a ‘mischievous child’ who used to steal from houses in the village and that he would always run away from home after being punished for his bad behaviour.
“I don’t agree that this boy was being abused at all. What I know is that he was very aggressive and never wanted to be corrected when he had done wrong,” Bame said explaining that Ntungamili’s performance at school was also very poor.
Concerning the issue of food rations, 50-year-old Bame said it was true that there was a dispute after Ntungamili had failed to get his monthly food basket because he was unable to write his signature.
“What I know is that two days before he refused to eat because other family members joked that because he could not write his name properly he would not get the food basket and would therefore starve.”
Meanwhile a neighbour who asked not to be named alleged that Ntungamili was constantly abused and sometimes denied food by Bame and his wife. The neighbour said the boy had long warned that he would one day take his own life.
“Even on the day he took his life Ntungamili told his young brothers that he was going to hang because he had not been given any food,” she said.
Nata Police station commander Superintendent Otsile Fani confirmed that his officers were still investigating the incident, saying that it was too early to conclude that the boy committed suicide.
Although the Nata Social worker confirmed that she was aware of the incident, she refused to comment on the issue referring all questions to her superior. At the time at the time of going to press the officer responsible was out of the office.