No motive for brother’s killing

2011-11-19 16:19

Happy Shapo was not a happy man. This week he walked into his brother’s classroom and hacked him to death in front of his pupils.

When asked what the motive was his answer was a simple, “He makes me sick”. Happy’s family this week told of a man who was clearly troubled.

After suddenly abandoning his job as a City of Tshwane municipal employee last year for no apparent reason, he stopped talking to his brother, teacher Gilfort Shapo (53). Four weeks ago he stopped talking to his mother.

According to family and relatives, Happy (40) returned home from Gauteng a completely different person. He started growing a long beard and hair – which earned him the nickname Bin Laden – had mood swings, hardly talked to anybody and preferred to be by himself.

When asked why he left his job, he said he had lost interest in it.  Gilfort’s wife, Khomotso, said Happy was clearly angry but no one expected his mood to manifest in such a deadly manner.

“A few months ago Gilfort complained that Happy no longer spoke to him. When he greeted him, he just kept quiet. Four weeks ago, his mother complained about the same thing. ”

Mmakolobe Setati, Happy’s sister, said he always kept a panga in his bedroom but the family never felt threatened.  On Tuesday morning, Happy left his village for Ga-Masehlong shortly after 6am, said Setati.

“Happy phoned his wife that morning and said he was going to teach his brother a lesson and she could expect to cry because she always defended him,” said Setati.

He walked the 7km trip to the home village of the country’s sprinting sensation and gold medallist Caster Semenya.  Two men, who asked not to be named, said they saw him sharpening a panga with a stone while leaning against a tap next to the bus stop at about 7.30am.

This is the spot where a bus transporting teachers to various schools in the area dropped Gilfort off every morning. Then Happy disappeared.

Noko Moabelo, Masehlong Primary School principal, where Gilfort had been a maths teacher for the past 28-years, said Happy entered the school premises shortly after 9am.

He headed straight to the mobile classroom where Gilfort’s 40 grade seven learners were busy writing exams.

“Happy peeped through the window to make sure his brother was inside. He suddenly stormed in and started attacking him. There was blood all over, from the door to the chalkboard,” Moabelo said.

Pat Kgomo, spokesperson for the Limpopo education department, said Shapo hacked Gilfort repeatedly until he fell to the ground. “Learners were in class. They started screaming and ran outside. We called the police and ambulance. The teacher was rushed to WF Knobel Hospital but he died a few hours later.”

Khomotso said Happy, who was apprehended and surrounded by a group of locals baying for his blood, asked to speak to her when she arrived at the scene.

“I asked them not to kill him. When I asked Happy why he hacked his brother, he just said Gilfort made him sick.

‘‘My children are shocked. When they arrived home, they burst into tears and asked their grandmother how their uncle could have killed their father? My husband was a loving person and I will miss him,” said a tearful Khomotso.

Trauma counsellors were called in by the department to help the learners deal with the tragedy.  Limpopo police spokesperson Hangwana Mulaudzi said Happy appeared in the Ga-Matlala magistrate’s court on charges of murder.

The case has been postponed to tomorrow for a formal bail hearing.

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