#RIPKamo: A tale that took Twitter by storm

By Rudzani Matshili/IOL Mojo Time of article published Jan 11, 2016

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A Twitter user named @JustKhuthi told a 70 tweet story about a friend who was abducted and found barely alive, after being raped and violently attacked.

Refering to Kamo as her sister, the Tweeter brought Kamo's ordeal into SA's hearts and homes.

“Who was Kamo?” one Tweeter asked on Sunday on the same platform where everyone read of her gruesome death and the exciting life that she had ahead of her.

Kamo hated pictures, we read, when @JustKhuthi began to tell the story of Kamogelo Peterson’s ordeal.

She was heading towards a career in professional tennis and was an actuarial science graduate. On the first day of this year, she tweeted: “I’m so excited to travel this year. My schedule is as follows: Moscow, Madrid, Rome, London and then last but not least Paris.”

Kamo's last day alive was chronicled in vivid and emotionally-charged detail.

“We can’t find. Kamo’s dad is proper freaking out because her car tracker is unresponsive and no-one has heard from her in 3hrs. Kamo ALWAYS calls.”

She tweeted Peterson’s boyfriend: “@Siya_Andile, “Yeah whatever, are you with Kamo? Her dad says she didn’t show up. I assumed she’d be with you, cos she said that’s where she’s headed.”

Peterson had left Polokwane at 10.30am on her drive to Joburg and had last checked in with her friend at around 4pm. She had said she would stop by her boyfriend’s house before she went for dinner with her father, but she hadn’t made it there either.

Worried, her boyfriend tweeted: “Okay, she was suppose to be here by 9pm. Now I’m worried.”

Recounting the events of the night on Sunday, @JustKhuthi says it was around 11pm when panic really set in and they started to search for her.

“Her dad meets us in Sunnyside and we’re blowing up her phone at this point. I was trying not to panic, but I had dropped the ball already. Her dad contacts the car tracker company to track her car.

“They say it’s unresponsive and they will try again in 30 minutes. While waiting for the tracker company, someone contacts Kamo’s guy (boyfriend) using Kamo’s phone, saying she was found in a bathroom in Centurion.”

With their first lead in hand @JustKhuthi, her boyfriend and Peterson’s father head to Centurion. When they reach the area, they search for her car, to no avail. The car tracker calls to say they found Peterson’s car in Germiston.

@JustKhuthi wrote: “Why is your phone in Centurion but your car is in Germiston when you were supposed to be in Sunnyside with dad? I’m worried now. First reaction when we found her car was to puke. I was paralysed with fear when I saw how battered it was. Where is she?” 

They found the car with the windows and windscreen smashed in. There was blood on the driver’s seat and Peterson’s bags and wallet were still in the vehicle. 

It was well past midnight, so they called the police, who towed the car, with no leads and no picture to show people who might’ve seen her, they were feeling hopeless.

On Saturday, relief, they had found her. 

“They found her in Edenvale Hospital, barely alive. Someone found her next to the road somewhere in Germiston, and called an ambulance. They don’t know how it happened exactly, or how many there were.

“But they were certain that after they abducted her, they had their way. They don’t know for how long, but the damage was already done when they found her. She was practically already gone. She bled through her open wounds where they obviously beat her up. She bled from the most sacred part of her body where she was violated.” 

Faced with organ failure and too much blood loss, Peterson was on life support.

“These selfish men put a father in a position to switch off the machine of the only surviving member of his family.” 

Just four years earlier, Peterson’s mother, father and twin sister were involved in a car accident on their way to watching her tennis match. Only her father survived.

Maybe her bright future is why the story of her death haunted everyone who read it and why her name trended. Maybe it was too soon, a mere day, after the memorial service for another slain young woman, Palesa Madiba.

There was a rage, a sombreness and air of desperation behind the question of “when will it stop?”

The story was retweeted and trended for the most part of Sunday.

On Monday the story was already being questioned by people claiming #RIPKamo was a fictitious tale made up by @JustKhuthi's.

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