When Mosadinyana Boingotlo Sekhobe’s long lost son, Motona Sekhobe was reunited with her and the rest of the family in December 2013, it was joy and jubilation.
Mosadinyana thought her eldest son who went missing in December 1974, aged 7, will take over the duties of his late father, Koonaang Sekhobe who had died two years earlier, and head the household.
“It was the moment I never thought will come. For more than forty years of my son’s disappearance, I never thought he was alive. His father never stopped mourning over him, but almost like a miracle, two years after his demise, the missing son was found. I fear this God, I believe my husband is an angel who guided my son back home,” recalled Mosadinyana, tears of joy almost blurring her aging eyes.
However the 78- year- old woman’s joy lasted only a few years because fast forward to 2017, she has kicked out Motona from home through a magistrate’s restraint order.
“He insulted me, calling me names and even locking me out of the gate. He wanted to kick me out of my own house, which he wanted to claim as his inheritance from his father. He slapped his sisters around and stopped them from entering our yard. He hurled all sorts of unprintables to us,” explained the seemingly heartbroken widow.
Remembering the many years she mourned over the loss of her son, Mosadinyana said, “We used to soak our pillows with tears. For many nights we curled together with my husband and cried for our lost son.”
It all started in December 1974 when Mosadinyana travelled with nine children, some of who were hers to the lands from Moshupa to Maokane, near what is now Jwaneng mine. Then most of the parents stayed in the lands during ploughing season and the school going children remained in the village until school closed. According to Mosadinyana, since the lands were far from the village, parents took turns to collect children from the village.
It was during Mosadinyana’s turn to collect children that her then 7- year-old boy went missing along the way.
“The younger children had walked ahead. They were to wait for me at another farm where we usually rest, have water and eat our lunch packs before proceeding to our farm. However, Motona started crying so I spanked him, rebuked him for being a cry baby and encouraged him to walk a bit fast like his younger sibling,” Mosadinyana recalled.
It is her story that Motona then hurried up and she thought he was trying to catch up with the older children. To her shock, however, when she finally caught up with the rest of the children, Motona was nowhere to be found.
“I went back with other elders from that particular farm to look for the boy. At dusk, we heard a cry from the shrubs and I swear it was Motona’s voice. Even the man we were with called out for Motona to come out fom his hiding but to their shock, Motona was not anywhere to be found.
“We retired back home and in the morning I reported the matter to the village chief. A search party was sent out, but they too returned empty handed,” Mosadinyana further narrated the ordeal.
For days and weeks that followed, his father travelled the length and breath of the Kgalagadi desert, hoping to find his son, “and at some point he almost died of dehydration and collapsed in the wilderness, but was rescued by a relative who accompanied him in one of the long searches,” Mosadinyana said
It turns out that Motona was taken in by a couple who raise him as their own at a town near the South African border.
According to information he gave to his family, he used to work in South African farms and it was only after his “adoptive” parents died that he felt the need to return home.
“He says his “siblings” told him he would not benefit from the late couple’s estate, as he was not their child. They told him he was a lost and found boy from a distant Moshupa village.”
Asked about his ordeal, Motona said his life was too painful to talk about it at the moment.