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A life cut short

A life cut short
KILLED: Ratunka

Teenager fatally stabbed for calling cousin by nickname

A schoolyard squabble between two 16-year-old cousins over an unwanted nickname has ended with one dead and the other facing a murder charge.

Kennedy Ratunka, a Form One pupil at Diratsame Junior School, died on his hospital bed on Tuesday morning, five days after he was stabbed in the chest with a pair of scissors.

The main suspect in his murder is his schoolmate cousin, who allegedly took offence when Ratunka called him by his hated nickname, ‘Ramaswe’ (the ugly one).

The accused, a Form Three pupil who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with murder and is currently on remand having appeared before court in a closed session due to his age.

It appears the trouble began with name-calling – a scene reminiscent of thousands of schoolboy arguments – but quickly spiralled tragically, lethally out of control.

It is alleged that the dispute started on Thursday afternoon, when ‘Ramaswe’ addressed Ratunka by his ‘Lizard’ nickname.

However, he failed to see the funny side when Ratunka responded by referring to him as ‘Ramaswe’ and allegedly became so angry that he hit his cousin with a stone.

‘Ramaswe’ is then said to have walked away, but not before warning his cousin that ‘the fight is not over’.

Speaking to The Voice on Wednesday morning, barely 24 hours after his nephew’s death, Monametsi Manato revealed that Ratunka had gone for a walk with a family member at around 8pm on Thursday (30 September) evening.

According to Manato, ‘Ramaswe’, who is a neighbour to the deceased, saw them passing in front of his yard and ran after them.

He then allegedly slapped Ratunka before stabbing him with a pair of scissors on his chest.

“I heard Ratunka’s mother screaming for help, I came running and found him standing by the gate in a bloody shirt. He asked me if it was fair for his cousin to stab him for calling him ‘Ramaswe’ when he had also called him ‘Lizard’,” narrated Manato.

A life cut short
IN SHOCK: Monametsi Manato, the deceased’s uncle

The injured teenager was then rushed to a clinic in Moshupa where he was attended by the doctor and referred to Kanye.

“On Friday he was referred to Princes Marina Hospital but his situation was deteriorating, he was no longer talking,” continued Manato, adding that by Monday it was discovered Ratunka was bleeding internally and was taken to Bokamoso Private Hospital for operation.

“On Tuesday we received the sad news that he was no more.”

Manato said they have since made peace with parents of the accused since they are family and have joined hands in funeral arrangements.

“Kennedy was a very humble child and as the first child his mother was expecting a lot from him. Truth be told, the accused is a stubborn and rebellious child, even his parents have given up on him. He moved out of his parents’ home and is staying with his grandmother,” he added, sighing sadly at the pointless waste of a promising life.

Moshupa Acting Station Commander Joel Sebotho confirmed the incident, adding that the accused will be back in court for mention on the 17th.

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