The Ratanda community in Heidelberg in Gauteng has been rallying behind the Khoabane family who lost three children after allegedly being poisoned by their father.
The community have been supporting the family, including financially, since the tragedy struck over a week ago. On Saturday they packed the local multipurpose centre for the emotional funeral service of the three boys.
Brothers laid to rest
Many people came to share the pain of the Khoabane family as they laid to rest 16 year old, Lehlohonolo Khoabane, 13 year old Katlego Khoabane and 6 year old Teboho Ngcongwane.
Among them, the local soccer team who belted out asong, usually sung before a soccer match to inspire victory against the opponent. But this time round, Super Touches FC are sending-off brothers, friends and fellow team members – Tlapopo and Ekstein – as they affectionately called Katlego and Teboho.
Team coach, Lindiwe Nkambule, says that the death of the boys has hit them hard.
“If a parent feels overwhelmed, they need to know that it does not only affect that individual family. But the pain extends to the childhood of other children in the society”, says Nkambule.
Lesufi condemns ease of access to rat poison
The MEC for Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, says that the community should stand up to the easy access to the rat poison popularity known as a le phirimi. That’s because in Ivory Park, a township not far from Heidelberg, three other minors this week also lost their lives to food poisoning from the same chemical. Lesufi says that the pain of losing young people runs deep…
“Here we go again instead of bidding them farewell because they are going to institutions of higher learning, we are sending them off because they are dead”, says Lesufi.
The grandfather of the deceased boys, Johannes Khoabane, say the family is left with scars that would take time to go away. In an emotional address to mourners, he wanted to know what could have triggered his son-in-law to commit such a gruesome act.
“We do not know what prompted him to do what he did because we loved him so much”, says the boys emotional grandfather.
‘Men need to speak up’
The local taxi association also supported the grieving family. The group’s Tshepo Mlaba says that the children had died at the hands of a man and that it’s time that men got together in what he called we need to talk conference
“I think men need to come out from dark corners where they feel disempowered and share their problems. It would help them realise that their problems are not worse than what the next person is facing,” laments Mlaba.
It’s alleged that the father had given his five boys an energy drink laced with rat poison. One child had refused to consume it and another is fighting for his life in hospital. The father is under police guard in hospital after he attempted to commit suicide.
Video: Gauteng Education MEC speaking at the funeral
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