NEWS

A School Principal's Quest To Find The Family Of The Boy Killed In Coligny

Stanley Mnyakama found out the father had been looking for his son for two weeks.

02/05/2017 12:40 SAST | Updated 02/05/2017 12:40 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Locals clean up after over-night looting, when protesters took to the streets to demonstrate the killing of a boy in Coligny.

"I had searched everywhere. I was desperate and I was about to give up but finally I found his family," said primary school principal Stanley Mnyakama.

Mnyakama had barely slept over several days -- he was desperate to find the family of the unclaimed boy who lay unidentified in the state mortuary, whose alleged murder on a farm near Coligny sparked days of unrest.

Read: Coligny: The Forgotten Town, Until Now

Several days had passed and no one had come forward to identify the boy whose alleged murder had ignited violent protests in the small North West town.

Angry residents went on the rampage last week, looting and burning businesses in town.

Two men handed themselves over, claiming the boy had died when he jumped off the back of their moving bakkie. They claimed he had broken his neck.

The men apparently claimed that the boy was caught red-handed stealing sunflowers and they were taking him to the police when he jumped off the moving bakkie.

Quest to find family
Mnyakama had nearly given up on finding the boy's family. He had travelled to more than a dozen farms and informal settlements with a photograph of the boy in his pocket.

He said he was approached by people who witnessed the incident and took it upon himself to find the family.

Mnyakama, a principal at GR Setsetse Primary School, told News24 he heard about the alleged murder on Sunday, April 23, when the community was planning to protest.

"The people who touch me from the bottom of my heart are the poorest of the poor. I told myself that I needed to take it upon myself and find the family," he said.

"People from the farms are not brave to identify their kids so I took it upon myself to find the family.

"I am passionate about my community. I was born in the farm and I am touched by the poor," he said.

Mnyakama said just as he was about to give up, he went back to the Scotland informal settlement and asked the residents again if they knew the boy.

"I even told God that he was a cruel God because this boy has been dead for a while and we could not find his family."

Some residents identified the boy in the photograph as Matlhomola Mosweu, 16.

Father was looking for him
Mosweu's father was in church when he approached him.

"I pulled him [the father] out of church and I asked the father if he knew who the boy on the picture was and he held his head and confirmed that it was indeed his boy," said Mnyakama.

He said Mosweu's father had told him that he was looking for him for more than two weeks.

On Friday, the two men accused of killing the victim appeared in the Coligny Magistrate's Court facing a charge of murder. The matter is in court today for an urgent bail hearing.

News24