When former Local Government and Lands Minister Boometswe Mokgothu unveiled a plaque at Mookane customary court in 1996, it was a happy occasion.
17-years later the iconic structure has become a haunting memory to the traumatised parents of a five -year-old boy that it fell on and killed on his birthday.
Last week when he dropped off his twin sons at their mother’s workplace and lovingly gave them a hug it did not occur to Justice Nkuru, a 33-year-old doting father that he was seeing one of them alive for the last time.
This week, as the family went about with the boy’s burial in Gaborone, Nkuru and his wife Lesedi,30, told the touching story of how their son Jan Van-Vrede Kebonye Junior tragically met his tragic death at Mookane village on July 5.
“It was supposed to be the happiest day of the brother’s lives when they celebrated their 5th birthday” Nkuru said as, together with Lesedi they re-lived the last day of their son.
“I was supposed to have gone to Lesotho with some friends and I decided to leave them with their mother in Mookane.
It was during working hours and I decided to drop them off by the customary court where she works.
I had lost my phone and I travelled back to Gaborone to meet my mates whom I had arranged to travel with to Lesotho,” he said.
The following day Nkuru received the shattering news through his friends that his son had been killed.
“I was shocked and shaken to say the least.”
Lesedi fought back tears as she told of how her happiness was cut short minutes after she had proudly introduced her kids to her colleagues.
“I have only been working in Mookane for the past six months but the kids were staying in Gaborone I was so excited when they visited to celebrate their 5th birthday with me,” she said as her gaze fell on a montage of his sons’ pictures.
After introducing the twins to her colleagues, Lesedi says she allowed them to go out and play as they waited for her to knock off.
“After some minutes I heard some noise outside as people shouted and called for help.
When I got out of the office with other curious colleagues to investigate, there were people crowded and the scene was the worst sight of my life.
The official opening plaque erected in the customary court yard had fallen on my boy and he lay there motionless.
Members of the public held me back as some removed his lifeless body.”
Young Kebonye’s body was taken to Deborah Retief Memorial Hospital in Mochudi where he was certified dead.
“I just can’t think straight. At least his 13-year-old brother understands the situation but I don’t know how we will explain it to his twin brother.
He still believes that his brother was taken to the hospital and that he would be back.
We are really going through a tough time,” she said.
Nkuru went on to say that the family intended to consult with their attorney before proceeding with legal action.
“That plague was going to hurt someone anyhow because it was only held up by a rusty nail.
But this time around we are talking about a worse scenario. It killed my son,” he said.
Superintendent Phineas Makwaeba of Dibete police confirmed the incident but said the police were investigating to establish if there was any kind of negligence involved.
“ We will decide our next course of action after our investigations have been completed.” he said.