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Depression survivor tells the story

Yvonne Mooka

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HAPPIER TIMES: Keneo lost her husband only eight months after marriage

One moment, Keneo Bonang’s husband was dropping their daughter at school in the morning, and the next moment he was reported dead, killed by petty thieves for his mobile phone and wallet.

On that fateful Thursday in 2014, Bonang 31 says she received a call from her man around 6pm telling her that he had run out of petrol near Grand Palm hotel in Mogoditshane. She would ask if he needed her to bring him some, and he told her he would ask colleagues.

Then he became impatient, she says, and walked to a nearby fuel station. It was then that two young men attacked him, and stabbed him. In an interview with The Midweek Sun, Bonang however says she did not find out immediately that her husband had been murdered.

“I called and called him but he didn’t answer the phone. Around 2am, she’d call her sister as she was now getting worried. It was only when I arrived at my sister’s house that our other sister called us with a suspicious tone, asking where Kabo, my husband, then 36, was.

Upon driving to her house, a security guard told us people had gathered in the house and that, “it looks like someone is dead,” she said, and that is when she received the sad news. Bonang says that losing her husband only eight months after their wedding took a toll on her.

They were still in a honeymoon phase, and again, she found out a day after his funeral that she was pregnant with their second child. “I didn’t know that ‘till death do us part’ would mean eight months. I became a widow instantly,” she says.

Her church, Seventh Day Adventist immediately started counselling her the day she lost her husband, something she is thankful for. Her take is that widows need counselling as soon as the news of their husbands’ death breaks.

She says that the most difficult processes are identifying the deceased at the mortuary, arrival of the body at home (Kgoroso), being told to sleep next to the coffin and when the coffin goes down the grave. “Especially if the death was tragic, you can lose your mind because of trauma. You need to be counselled early,” she says. I became a tragic widow’

Bonang was on a teaching contract and it had come to an end a month before her husband’s death. She says that between 2014 and 2017 January, she sunk into deep depression. She moved back to her mother’s house in Maun. “I was incredibly overwhelmed, shocked, traumatised and deeply saddened.

All of the emotional stress and pain resulted in physical ailment and pain.I had pain everywhere – legs, feet, ears, arms, and this excruciating pain wouldn’t stop. I had body tremors,” she says, adding that the neurologist had thought she had Multiple Sclerosis, an incurable condition which presented the aforementioned symptoms.

She says that her BOMAID medical fund was depleted in a space of seven months, and she had to use her cash or go to Princess Marina hospital. After the baby arrived, she was diagnosed with Psycho-somatic disorder, which involves both mind and body.

It is thought to be particularly vulnerable to mental factors such as stress and anxiety. She would then start counselling with a psychologist whom she says was very good. She also shares that at one point she tried a life of clubbing and drinking to escape the grief. ‘I beat depression’

After moving from the house she shared with her husband in 2015, Bonang says she decided this year in January to move back in and to start afresh with her two children.
She says that this Tuesday morning her young daughter came to her asking where her father was and wanted to confirm if he was dead as her older sister had told her.

“I had to take the bull by the horn. It has happened and I have accepted that I have lost my husband. He was a sweet, loving and kind man and we loved each other deeply. But I have to face it and can’t grieve forever,” she says.

She advises young married women to ensure they are financially sound and to invest so that life does not end when their husbands pass. Other than being an administrator at Bokamoso Private Hospital, Bonang also runs a pre-school in Maun.

But is she dating? She laughs it off, saying that she is safeguarding her children and that if she finds someone, she will only introduce him to her children after he has paid Bogadi (marriage price) for her. Meanwhile, her husband’s killers are still at large.

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GABS CITY REPAIRED

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Located in the heart of Gaborone, Bontleng Primary School was one of the areas that were devastated by Cyclone Dineo some two years ago.

Among damages from the cyclone the school boundary walls were destroyed and some trees fell onto classrooms destroying the roofing, recalled Area Councilor, Olebogeng Kemelo. Today the school is among several developmental projects carried out by the Gaborone City Council (GCC). Maintenance work is going on, a new classroom block is coming up and roofs of classrooms that were destroyed by the storm winds have been replaced and reinforced with steel pipes.

The school will also receive rehabilitation of water reticulation and drainage along with other primary schools in the city in the financial year 2019/20. This is just one of the many developmental projects by the city council that are currently taking place around the city. Mayor of Gaborone, Kagiso Thutlwe said on Tuesday during the Council Leadership and Management tour of projects that they have realised that often times councilors discuss projects only in Council Chambers and never get an appreciation of the work on the ground.

According to Thutlwe the projects have been funded from the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP), Roads Levy and Constituency funding, as well as additional funds from China through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The council received around P60 million from the Roads Levy, P30 million from ESP, and P50 million for the five constituencies within the city, while the donation from China through the ministry was about P15 million. “We are sampling a few projects from each of the funding mechanisms, some projects are funded from ESP, some from Roads Levy and some from Constituency funding,” Thutlwe said, adding, “Generally all projects are going on well.

“We had hiccups at the beginning of some projects like paving of roads that did not go well because of issues of capacity, but we are now satisfied with progress and contractors and there is close monitoring.” Some of the visited sites include the Shashe road in Gaborone South that was done under the Roads Levy for around P5 million, maintenance of primary schools around P600 000, storm water drainage around P600 000, walkway in Mosekangwetsi and Khuduga in Bonnington south around P600 000, ESP project in Khuduga primary school for around P20 million. Other projects include; recreational park development, storm water drainage in Old Naledi, construction of Kgomokasitwa Road, street lights and flood lights, maintenance of SHHA offices, Block 10 underdeveloped plots, Bosele primary school, Block 3 recycling centre and development of clinic in Maruapula.

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WHO POISONED THE CHILDREN?

Yvonne Mooka

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They were staying in Bontleng, Gaborone with their mother, father and aunt. According to their aunt Agnes Selato, their father Onalethata Moreomongwe had on February 27, cooked them rice soup and beef and left some in the pot, which he put in the fridge.

She says that the following day, the father told the children to eat the leftovers alone and that she – the aunt, should eat bread. “The girl wanted to refuse to eat but since she was coming from school and hungry, she ended up eating. I also ate with them,” she says. She however says that around 11pm, she and the children fell sick. “They had diarrhoea and were vomiting. Their body temperatures were high. I also experienced dizziness and started throwing up,” she says.

Selato says that the father decided to go out with his friend around midnight, ignoring that they were not feeling well. All the while, the children’s mother Kamogelo Selato was on a night shift at Engen filling station in Nkoyaphiri. It was when Kamogelo arrived around 7am that the children were taken to Bontleng clinic. The mother says that she went and looked for their father who came and drove them to the clinic.

The aunt however says she was feeling better. “Upon arrival at the clinic, we were quickly taken to Princess Marina Hospital where nurses sent me back home to call their father for questioning.
“When we got to the hospital, the boy had already been moved from Emergency to Intensive Care Unit. The girl was admitted at the Children’s ward and we were told she was feeling better,” says the aunt. As they were still waiting at the hospital around 8pm, they were informed that both children had passed on. She and Moreomongwe have since been interrogated by CID officers. “They took uncooked rice and cooked rice for testing.

They also took the pot that was used. But again after post-mortem that was conducted last Wednesday, the police asked them about a spray used in the house that could have affected the children’s respiratory systems. “I told them that the father had confided in his friend that he had brought spray from his workplace to kill cockroaches in the house. He actually sprayed the house at one point,” she says. Selato brought clothes in a plastic bag belonging to Kamogelo that had a strong smell of a chemical and told The Midweek Sun team that it was the one used by Moreomongwe.

Family furious
The children’s mother says that she suspects foul-play as the children’s father did not bring money he claimed from their insurance. “His behaviour is suspicious. He took their death certificates for insurance claims but did not bring not even 1 Pula. “He went and bought himself a smartphone and created a fake Facebook account to tarnish my name that I killed my children,” she says, talking about circulating Facebook post that a mother has poisoned her children with rice. She says that even though the boyfriend’s family brought four goats and a sheep, the issue of insurance money that never helped at the funeral had angered her. “I buried my children alone, from my own pocket. But again I’m not surprised because I hear he was seen on Sunday at the graveyards with bottles at my children’s tombs,” said the 30 year old.

Kamogelo laments her relationship of seven years, saying her boyfriend had turned her into a punching bag. “He lives with me in my house but he abuses me. The whole furniture is mine and I pay rent, but he is abusive.

‘I’m done with him,” she says, adding that he had alienated her son as he found her already with him. She says that police should arrest him for killing her children. Kamogelo’s mother Matshidiso Selato also made a plea to the police to arrest Moreomongwe pending investigations. She says that they should kick him out of Kamogelo’s house and bring the keys to Molapowabojang. “In 2016, he nearly killed her. He abuses her.

Now that he has killed my grandchildren, he is going to kill my daughter,” she says angrily, adding that police should torture Moreomongwe so that he can tell the truth. Great grandmother Kebabope Mothibi blames the police for not arresting Moreomongwe, stating that he was going to kill Kamogelo. Great grandfather Kehetamang Modibedi says that he does not want Moreomongwe. “What had joined him with my granddaughter is gone and he is behind it. Now, they share nothing. I don’t want to see him,” he says.

Boyfriend speaks
In response, Moreomongwe, 27, blames the children’s aunt for their death. He denies having cooked rice for them and says it was actually Agnes who did. “I only took two spoons. Sejeso seo se ne se lebagane nna. Ga ampatle,” he says, implying that the poison had targeted specifically him. He explains that the sister did not want to leave them in peace as a couple, and that she had overstayed two months they had given her in their rented room.

He adds that he was also put on a drip at Bontleng clinic after the incident. Moreomongwe reveals that his girlfriend’s mother does not like him and had long wanted them to part ways. “She is a big problem in our relationship, but her daughter and I are fine. Even if she listens to them and dumps me, it’s alright, but I will always love her. I leave them with Isaiah 66 and they’ll know because we’re both ZCC members,” he says. Urban Police station commander Superintendent Masego Majaha says they are still waiting for the doctor’s report. She said they had taken the food to the lab for examination.

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