Molelema ‘missing’ boy to be laid to rest

Picture: A body of Phemelo Modirwa carried after being retrieved from a quarry

Messages of condolences continue to pour in for Phemelo Modirwa’s family. The 13-year-old Modirwa was found dead in a quarry at Molelema village near Taung last Saturday after he went missing for more than two weeks.

It is alleged that Phemelo was visiting his friend, but failed to return home. His body was found floating in the quarry by a passer-by. Modirwa’s family said their son’s death left them hopeless. 

Molelema residents held a memorial service for Phemelo on Wednesday at a local community hall and described him as a good child.

Phemelo’s uncle, Joseph Modirwa, had this to say:  “We are very touched by my nephew’s death. We hoped that Phemelo would come home alive but now this. We however believe that police investigations will reveal if there is any foul play in his death.”

Molelema Men Against Crime chairperson, Ofentse Senokwane, said Phemelo’s death is a surprise because they have been frequently searching the quarry where he was found without finding anything.

“We have been visiting the area in search of Phemelo, but his body was found floating in the water. However, we will wait for forensic investigations to understand what exactly killed him. He had no visible marks and that is a little bit surprising because it doesn’t tell whether he drowned or not,” Senokwane said. 

Taung Police Station cluster spokesperson, Sergeant Tebogo Thebe, said: “We have opened an inquest case and at this stage investigations are underway. We are expecting post-mortem results during the course of this week. The outcome will reveal exactly what happened to Phemelo.”

SANCO regional secretary in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district, Mika Moeti, urged parents to monitor their children’s movements.

“We urge parents to ensure that they keep their children safe at all times. Children always like to experiment and cannot afford to be left unmonitored. We are losing our future leaders through untimely deaths and that is unacceptable,” Moeti said.

One of the residents, Mothibi Makoro, said the community is in mourning. “As we mourn the tragic death of young boy Phemelo, I cannot help but put this out. I personally feel we have failed him and his family. I believe that we have failed the innocent soul as the community of Molelema.

“I am saying this because Phemelo is the third person to go missing in the past two years and the second person to be found dead,” Makoro said. 

He said the first person who went missing was a man in his late 30s or mid-40s and his body was found decomposed on a farm along the Hartswater route.

 “The second person who went missing was a mentally-ill cousin of mine. Fortunately, they were found weeks after they went missing. There were however no searches conducted in both cases. As a community, we need to do a thorough introspection.

“Many young children visit taverns frequently, but we hardly do anything about that. So many things could happen to those kids and what are we going to do? I am sorry if I am being insensitive, but this attitude is nauseating. I am not excluded as I am part to this ignorance,” he said.

Phemelo Modirwa will be laid to rest on Saturday.- Newsnote 


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