Country unites in mourning 6-year-old hero
KImberley - South Africans across the country on Monday joined the family of six-year-old Kutlwano Garesape, the community of Jan Kempdorp and the Northern Cape in mourning the brutal death of the young hero.
Kutlwano was killed while trying to protect his mother from a man who attacked and attempted to rape her while they were walking to school on Friday.
The man charged with the incident, Tefelo Dikole, 32, appeared in the Jan Kempdorp Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The DFA was on Monday inundated with phone calls from readers as far afield as Cape Town and Durban, conveying their condolences to the grieving family and offering assistance and support.
A woman from Cape Town was one of many readers who offered to assist the family financially, while the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa (MJC) expressed its sympathy to the family.
The president of the MJC, Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams, in a personal letter to the family, requested permission to attend the funeral.
“The Muslim Judicial Council (SA) salutes the bravery of young Kutlwano in trying to defend the life, dignity and honour of his mother. We are deeply touched and profoundly moved by the God-consciousness of Mrs Garesape who prayed to God for her son, acknowledging his bravery and valour. We once again highlight the need for more stringent regulations to be put in place by the South African government to protect the rights and lives of children,” Abrahams said.
Also read: Boy, 6, dies protecting mom from attacker
Community members meanwhile protested outside the court and opposed bail for the accused, calling for him to be kept behind bars.
They labelled the attack on Segomotso Garesape and her two young children as a savage act and said the attacker “must pay”.
One community member said: “This is a small community where we all know each other. The fact that the mother knew the attacker, and he continued to hurt her, is just shocking. This angers the community even more as this incident now inflicts fear in all of us and we feel that we are not safe. As a parent, you now really worry about the safety of your children - because this woman and her children were attacked during the morning hours whilst they were walking to school. It is heartbreaking .... as the child died in his mother’s arms.”
The Premier of the Northern Cape, Sylvia Lucas, also expressed her condolences to the family in a statement released on Monday.
“This senseless and insensitive attack comes during a month when we actively advocate for the rights of women. There can be no justifiable reason or explanation for one person to inflict so much pain and suffering on an innocent child. Kutlwano had his whole life ahead of him and one merciless act destroyed the life of a child, that of his parents and the community at large.
“More disturbing is the fact that this innocent boy was on his way to school to obtain an education. The community of Jan Kempdorp and the Northern Cape has been deprived of a future leader and we thus call on all communities to always stand up and protect the wellbeing of our children.
“This senseless act cannot and will not be tolerated. The Northern Cape provincial government expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and community at large and calls on especially men to defend and uphold the rights of our women and children.
“We have full confidence that the law enforcement agencies will deal with the matter in the appropriate manner and with the urgency it deserves,” said Lucas.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Northern Cape also expressed its condolences.
The provincial secretary of the federation, Anele Gxoyiya, called for a harsh sentence.
“This story is an account of what many working class families go through in this sick society full of criminals. This woman is a worker and is employed as a cook at the same school where her deceased son was a learner; and sadly this brutal act occurred in August, a month dedicated to the struggle of women. We call on the Department of Social Development to arrange counselling for the family of the deceased boy, especially the mother and his elder brother who witnessed this inhuman act.
“We call on all our people to avoid walking alone in secluded areas and to ensure that their children are safe at all times,” Gxoyiya said.
Kutlwano's father, Frank Jacobs, indicated that the family did not attend court proceedings on Monday as they were at the mortuary in Hartswater. He added that he was touched by the support shown to the family.
Jacobs said they will make an official announcement on Kutlwano’s funeral at a later stage.
“We wish to have the funeral this coming Saturday, however, the autopsy is still being conducted and we will afford the law enforcement agencies an opportunity to conclude their investigation.
“The funeral will be held in Taung but we will release further details later this week,” Jacobs said.
The case was postponed to August 22 for a formal bail application.
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