Pretoria - The news of Christo Bothma’s death has been received with mixed reactions from his loved ones. While his wife Amanda won’t accept that her husband is dead until she has proof, his ex-wife Marinda du Preez said she and her two children Chrisinda Visser and Irmari van Staden had found closure and were at peace.
But Amanda, who lives in Potchefstroom, is disregarding the death reports. Du Preez, who lives in Faerie Glen, Pretoria, although heartbroken, said she is at peace with the news.
Bothma, 54, was kidnapped in Burkina Faso in September after he and a mine owner’s son were taken hostage by an Islamic splinter group.
Bothma was a fitter and turner and started working at Inata mine in Burkina Faso in June last year.
He and two colleagues were on their way to a nearby town to buy supplies when they were ambushed.
At the weekend, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman of the Gift of the Givers broke the news about Bothma’s apparent death.
In a message seen by the Pretoria News to his family, Sooliman wrote: “Today both our intermediaries called, independently of each other, one from Niger and the other from Mali. Apologies for this, but they both confirmed that Christo has passed on We still don’t know how, when and under what circumstances Christo passed on and we have no reason to doubt the message, as both our contacts are extremely reliable and trustworthy. My deepest condolences to the family.”
Du Preez, who has two daughters with Bothma, said she and her daughters had made peace with his death and hoped he was at peace now.
“It’s been a long and frustrating couple of months. His mother, Brenda, has been in a state ever since he disappeared,” said Du Preez.
She said they had in the past received false reports about his death. But this time it is different. Even her mother, Brenda said she feels it. “It’s like an intuition and sixth sense, we feel he is no longer with us,” she said.
“It’s enough now. He needed to be at peace. And what makes it even worse was that he was kidnapped on my 50th birthday. We just want to get all of this behind us.”
Du Preez said the incident brought the family together, while they searched frantically for answers. “We all have the best intentions for Christo, and we all get along with each other.
“From his sisters Sonia (Frylink) and Brenda (Coetser), and his mother Brenda We all wanted the best outcome from this incident.”
Du Preez said Sooliman first received the news of Bothma’s death on June 19, but this could not be confirmed. They also received the same message on July 1, confirming his death.
On July 3, the same contact confirmed to Sooliman that “the South African has passed on”.
The Mali contact, who was in contact with the captors, then sent people to where Bothma was being held to “research” the situation.
Then on July 12, Sooliman’s contact from Niger sent him a picture and asked if this was “the South African in Burkina”. It was a picture of Bothma.
On July 27, following his “research”, the Mali contact called to say “It is true,” meaning Bothma was dead.