HAPPY FAMILY: Limpopo philanthropist Goddard Mugwena (in yellow T-shirt), of Muledane village near Mutale, has adopted muti murder orphans Onndwela, 7 (front), Tshifhiwa, 21, Adivhaho, 12, Steven, 17, Vhutshilo, 10, and Jeaneth, 20. 040711 PHOTO BY: Elmon Tshikhudo / AENS

Elmon Tshikhudo

A Limpopo philanthropist has been taking care of a family of six orphans whose mother was killed in a ritual murder five years ago.

Goddard Mugwena, of Muledane village near Thohoyandou, first donated R3 000 to the children of muti murder victim Shonisani Thinandavha, 38.

Thinandavha, of Mulodi village, was killed in July 2006 while fetching wood to sell in order to feed her children. She was found dead at Mulodi. One of her breasts, her right hand, left ear and upper lip had been sliced off.

Mugwena gave the family R850 a month, which he increased to R1 100 in 2009.

“I have been with these children for a long time now. They have been accepted by my own kids and they are like my own children. We have become a happy family. After discussing it with my family, I have decided to support the children for as long as I live,” said Mugwena.

Mugwena is known as a charitable businessman who has donated groceries, money and bursaries to poor families in Limpopo.

Two of the Thinandavha orphans are now adults. Today, Tshifhiwa is 21 years old and in Grade 12, while Jeaneth is 20 years old and in Grade 10. Their siblings are Steven, 17, Adivhaho, 12, Vhutshilo, 10, and Onndwela, 7.

Last month, Mugwena bought them winter clothing and announced he would be their father for life.

“These children are like this not of their making, but because of something beyond their control. They need a parent, but unfortunately their mother is gone forever and their father is nowhere to be found.

“I will be their parent and give them all the support they need to grow up and become educated in order to be responsible residents and leaders of the future,” Mugwena said.

He said he couldn’t rest after the children lost their mother in the brutal incident. He said the Bible instructed him to take care of those who could not take care of themselves.

“It pains me to drive around town and see children eating from dustbins without anybody taking notice of them. We have to take care of each other. Let us treat all children as ours and intervene where necessary.”

He added that without parental care, children risked a life of crime, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Tshifhiwa said Mugwena had become everything to him and his siblings.

“When we lost our mother we thought it was the end of the world, but this man just came from nowhere and assisted us with all our needs. We are what we are today because of him,” said Tshifhiwa.

“We just pray that God blesses him and his family, who have accepted us unconditionally.”

Their mother’s killer, Mukosi Mulaudzi, was a serial rapist and murderer. He was given 11 life sentences and 176 years’ imprisonment for murder, attempted murder and rape in August 2008. – AENS