'I will never hear his voice again' - distraught mom of slain Lichtenburg boy

2017-10-12 06:34
Joseph Tshukudu, 15, was shot and killed on Tuesday during a protest. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Joseph Tshukudu, 15, was shot and killed on Tuesday during a protest. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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

Lichtenburg – His single bed in their one bedroom shack is empty. His mother weeps while staring at his framed photo.

It is little more than 24 hours since Joseph Spencer Tshukudu, 15, had woken up in Lichtenburg in the North West and accompanied his father, Willem Motlhoki, 41, to the tyre garage where he works.

He had danced and played around on the road before bidding his father farewell.

"Aah papa, I will see you later," Joseph had said.

But just as he was about to leave, his mother, Lillian Tshukudu, 45, called him back and insisted he put on his jacket.  

There was no way that Lillian could have known that hours later, a gunman would open fire on a group of protesters, killing her only child. The alleged gunman, a 46-year-old man has since handed himself over to police.

"I last heard [my son's] voice yesterday (Tuesday) when he was with his father. I think he was saying, 'Goodbye, mama'. He will never come back," said Lillian, who struggled to hold back tears.

'Shot in the eye' 

Speaking to News24, she said she had been sitting outside her house when she received the news that her only child had been killed.

"His friend came to tell me what happened. That is when I heard that he was shot in the eye," she said. 

"I think my child was helping out [redirecting cars due to protests] ... I couldn't even sleep last night (Tuesday)," she said, adding that Joseph was not part of the protest.

"I wish he was here with me. I wish he was here to talk nice things with me - like saying 'Mama, please give me food' and I would give him food like other children. But now my child is no longer here. What am I going to do now?"

Joseph’s pictures hang on the wall in the room he shared with his mother.

His single bed, shaky and unstable, is covered with an orange cloth.  

"He was my only child that God gave me and he took him away," she said as her sister comforted her.

 Elsie Marope comforts her sister Lillian Tshukudu (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

 

Some of the other family members, who had been sitting under a tree outside the house, also broke down.

"What am I going to do now? What am I going to do? I will never hear his voice again," she said.  

'He loved soccer' 

Across the road from the family's home is a soccer field. The dusty roads to their home are lined with rocks and bushes.

She said Joseph, who left school in Grade 7, wanted to be a soccer player but she couldn't afford to pay his school fees.

"He loved soccer so much he even received a certificate from school. He was going to take care of me," she said.

Sitting on Joseph's single bed, his father Motlhoki said he received the news from his sister-in-law, less than two hours after he had parted from his son. 

At 07:00 Joseph walked him to work but his father had instructed him not to join the protests in the area.

"I couldn't believe it; I couldn't believe this happened to him," he said.

Burial 

Motlhoki’s biggest worry now is how he is going to bury his son.

"I don't even have policies because I lost my job but now I got a new job. So when it's like this, how do we handle things?”

He claimed that his son was shot by someone in the community whom he knew.

"He is someone who likes a gun. He works while holding a gun. Where am I going to find my child now while he has his children at home?"

Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said the alleged gunman handed himself over at about 22:00 on Tuesday evening.

He said Joseph was killed along the Boikhutso Road, when a man who was travelling in a white car, got out of his vehicle and opened fire on the group of protesters.

He is expected to appear in the town's Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

He is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder. 

Joseph will be buried on Saturday, October 21.   

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

News24 (@News24) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from News24 (@News24). News24 is Southern Africa and Africa's premier online news resource reaching over 2.3 million local users each month. South Africa

Read more on:    lichtenburg  |  shootings  |  crime

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.