'Ask your mother who your father is'

2016-09-12 14:35
Mtheto Matina and his mother Elizabeth Molapisi in her house in Dealesville. (Deon Raath, Netwerk24)

Mtheto Matina and his mother Elizabeth Molapisi in her house in Dealesville. (Deon Raath, Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein - In 1980, Hertzogville farmer Roux Erwee kicked his domestic worker Elizabeth Molapisi from his farm after she gave birth to a coloured child.

Now Erwee, 65, has been charged with raping Molapisi, 61, several times in the late 1970s. He is apparently the child’s father, according to Rapport.

According to the State, DNA tests have shown Erwee fathered Mtheto Matina, 36, Molapisi’s light-skinned son. He was born on Erwee's farm on July 22 1980.

Molapisi and her son say their lives were thrown into turmoil when Erwee chased them away, a month after the child was born.

She remembers it vividly: The farmworkers’ reaction when they saw her “white” son; Erwee and his family’s visit to her room to see the child.

“There was a huge fight at Erwee’s house and I was called to the kitchen, where Erwee was waiting,” Molapisi told Rapport in her small house in Dealesville, 60km north-west of Bloemfontein.

“He put R60 on the table, looked at me and turned his back on me. He said nothing more. I knew I had to take my stuff and leave. I packed up and left that same evening with Mtheto while everyone was sleeping,” she said.

That was the last contact she had with Erwee.

She does not want to say much about the alleged rapes, except that Erwee often sent her husband away to go work on other farms.

‘We were outcasts’

After she left Erwee’s farm, she moved to another farm in the region.

“We were outcasts,” Matina said.

“My mum was known as the black woman who gave birth to a white man’s child and I was teased due to my light skin. The farmers were worried people would think I was their child, so they wouldn’t let us stay on their farms.”

When he reached puberty, he realised something was wrong.

“People would ask me about my parents but nobody would tell me anything. I was working at the co-op in Dealesville and the farmer would ask me about my father and why we didn’t have the same skin colour.”

Roux Erwee (Supplied)

Erwee never came to the co-op himself and always sent his workers to deliver wool, Matina said.

The farmworkers always greeted him and said they’d known him since birth. “It was odd but I couldn’t figure out what it meant,” Matina said.

His mother told him it was nonsense and assured him that Joseph Lao Matina was his father.

After Joseph’s death in 2014, Molapisi finally told her son the truth.

“I was angry. He ruined our lives and is unwilling to accept responsibility for his deeds,” Matina fumed. “My mother was just a plaything that he had cast away after he was done with her.”

He called Erwee a coward who never admitted paternity and didn’t pay maintenance.

Money offered

Matina sued Erwee for maintenance in 2014.

He said Erwee hasn’t spoken to him, but sent his lawyers to negotiate.

“I was offered R10 000 to drop the case and another R2 000 when I insisted on blood tests.”

Matina then ignored him.

Molapisi said she never laid a charge against Erwee because she was scared of him. She didn’t tell her son because she was afraid he would confront Erwee.

“I saw how harshly he treated his workers. I was scared of him,” Molapisi said.

Erwee did not want to comment.

“You are not welcome here. Please leave my property,” was all he said when Rapport paid a visit to his farm, 18km outside Hertzogville.

His lawyer Andries Spangenberg told Rapport the case was sub judice and neither he nor his client would comment.

Erwee was charged with rape in June. His trial will start in the Hertzogville Regional Court on November 21.  

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  crime

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