Mido Macia goes home

2013-03-10 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

They were waiting at the border: more than 100 people bearing a Mozambican flag and ready to pray.

Four elderly women led the delegation. They came from Matola, where Emidio Macia spent the first 10 years of his life.

The mourners prayed and sang hymns, preparing to allow the hearse containing Macia’s body to cross the border from South Africa into Mozambique.

Many wept when the woman leading the prayers asked: “Why do South Africans hate us so much?

“Please tell us what it is that we have done wrong to you. We are neighbours, but you continuously unleash cruelty on us.”

For Macia’s family and friends, Friday started in Joburg and ended, many long hours later, at Mpumalanga’s Lebombo border post.


First, they spent the day in court listening to proceedings during the bail applications of the nine police officers accused of murdering ­Macia.

Two weeks ago, Macia died in a Daveyton Police Station holding cell. The officers are due back in the Benoni Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

From court, it was time for Macia – affectionately known as Mido to Daveyton residents – to make his final journey back to the house he called home for 17 years.

As the coffin containing his body was offloaded from a white hearse outside the Daveyton house, mourners burst into song.

Like schoolchildren at the sounding of the morning assembly siren, everybody rushed to see whether the moment they had been dreading – but knew was coming – had finally arrived.

Seven men carried the coffin into the yard, heading straight to the outside room the young man had lived in for many years.

Tears rolled down the cheeks of some mourners as they watched the coffin being taken to his small, poorly ventilated room.

Others muttered: “Mido died ­before his time.” For 30 minutes, mourners sang hymns and waited patiently for Macia’s family to start a prayer ­session before they set off for ­Mozambique.

During that time, Macia’s father Jossefia sat in the dining room ­inside the main house drinking a glass of cold water. He said nothing. His face was empty.

It was only when Macia’s cousin Carlos came to Jossefia and said: “Uncle, it is time,” that the older man rose from his seat.

He walked slowly to Macia’s room and joined in a short prayer service.

Then he went back to the main house to sit again.

Neatly dressed in a pinstriped grey suit and blue shirt and speaking through a translator, Jossefia told City Press he had no words to explain his feelings.

“Mido came to South Africa as a young boy looking for greener pastures, but today he leaves in a coffin. He had aspirations and was hoping to return to Mozambique some day to better our lives. Now that will never happen,” he said.

His stern facade cracked.

As the sun started to sink below the horizon on Friday, scores of people moved up and down ­Daveyton’s Gumbi Street.

The street resembled a taxi rank – but here, traffic police had ­cordoned off the road and a hearse was at the head of the queue, a ­police van waiting to escort it to its next destination.

Macia’s coffin was carried on to the back of the hearse as mourners sang a hymn: “God welcome his soul in heaven and grant him the power to forgive his enemies.”

Jossefia jumped into the passenger seat and the hearse set off.


Before Mozambique, though, there was one last stop: the Daveyton Police Station holding cells.

There, the family performed a ritual during which they told ­Macia’s spirit they were taking him home.

Jossefia, Macia’s cousins Mario and Carlos, and the dead man’s landlord, Badalisile Ngwenya, went into the holding cell where Macia took his last breath.

Jossefia asked the police officers on duty to show him the spot where his son died.

It was pointed out – less than a metre from the thick steel door of the cell.

He knelt, took out a white cloth and sprinkled snuff on it while ­calling his son’s name.

He spoke quietly, then dragged the white cloth behind him and crawled out of the cell.

In the corridor, he neatly folded the cloth.

Jossefia then walked silently to the hearse and laid the white cloth atop his son’s coffin.

It was dark when the procession – about 30 vehicles – started their journey to Matola.

In the taxis and cars, mourners sang and danced, saying this was what Macia would have wanted for his funeral.

Yesterday, a packed tent of mourners received Macia’s body when it arrived after 8am in Matola, about 15km from Maputo.

Relatives cried uncontrollably as his coffin was carried through a guard of honour formed by members of the Zion Christian Church.

All speakers at Macia’s funeral criticised the South African police for having had a hand in his death.

The governor of Maputo province, Maria Elias Jonas, said: “Macia suffered at the hands of the South African police and they should suffer too. They must be punished for what they did. They are supposed to be guarding the people but they are killing them.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

UK expert: Boks ‘have KO game’
Ireland hold on to down Italy
As it happened: Ireland 16-9 Italy
All Blacks sympathise with England
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to day...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.