‘I’m just praying he’s safe’

2014-09-21 15:00

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Lebo Makhasha doesn’t know if her two sons have a father any more.

Her ex-husband Mandla last made contact more than a week ago. He texted her and asked her to tell the boys – Sifiso (8) and Siyabonga (7) – that he loved them.

At 5am yesterday morning, Makhasha restlessly paced the arrivals terminal at Joburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. She hoped that Mandla might be on board.

He wasn’t.

Nor was he on a second early-morning flight from Lagos, Nigeria, that was two hours overdue and landed at 9.30am.

When all the passengers had emerged, Makhasha couldn’t hold back her tears any longer. She wept inconsolably.

“I really wish he is safe wherever he is. I can’t bear the thought of having to raise the boys on my own. He loved them and did everything for them. It’s painful not to see him emerge out of the glass doors with other travellers.

“I don’t want to entertain the thought that he could be gone, but I’m aware that it’s a possibility.”

She hasn’t had much time to come to terms with that possibility: she didn’t even know that Mandla had gone to Nigeria on a pilgrimage to TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations.

Makhasha, from Tembisa, received a call from her in-laws on Friday. “They told me he had gone to Nigeria and that he was not picking up his phone. “I left work immediately and rushed to the airport, but was told to come back [yesterday] morning.”

She’s been calling his cellphone, to no answer. She planned to be back at the airport this morning at 5am to continue her frightened vigil. “I’m just praying that he is safe wherever he is.”

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