Mother appeals for son’s return

2009-10-27 00:00

LIFE has been turned upside down for a Chase Valley family who have not seen their grade 8 son since last week Wednesday.

Gugulethu Masuku’s son, Siyabonga, left home without shoes and without a jersey. By yesterday, they did not know whether he was dead or alive.

According to Masuku, they have been unable to eat and sleep and most of their time is spent roaming the streets of Pietermaritzburg following up on leads to the 15 year-old boy’s whereabouts.

She said her son left home wearing maroon shorts and a T-shirt with brown and pink stripes with the number 58 at the back.

Siyabonga was spotted by CCV cameras at the Cascades Mall using the toilets there a day after his disappearance from his home in English Street the night before.

Police are following on leads after he was last seen in Scottsville, where he is believed to have been since that time.

A car guard saw him at the Golden Horse Casino, while one of his friends at Carter High School, where Siyabonga is a pupil, admitted that Siyabonga slept at his Scottsville home. His parents are believed to have been away for the night.

Masuku said Siyabonga has a very small frame and looks much younger than he really is. She believes this attracted a lot of bullying from his peers at school.

“He has told us that he was once placed in a dustbin . I remember one day he called crying after he said the boys were making fun of his haircut. When we got to the school to fetch him, the teachers had calmed him down and convinced him to go back to class. Every time we wanted to report these complaints to the teachers, he would say the boys might stab him,” said Masuku.

Siyabonga’s disappearance appears to have started when he was facing punishment for telling lies — something his mother said was becoming a habit.

“That is one thing as a mother I have tried to instill in my children — that lies will not be tolerated because I want them to become citizens of good standing ,” said Masuku.

Masuku said the lies were largely centered around him selling sweets at school. He had convinced his mother that he had permission from the school to do this, having formed a partnership with another boy.

When they discussed the matter last Wednesday, Siyabonga was caught in a lie and left the house to sit outside after being told he would be punished for lying.

He refused to go back inside, despite being told to finish his homework. When his mo­ther realised it was getting late, she tried to assure him nothing would happen to him, but he did not budge.

Instead, he jumped over the concrete fence and ran away. When she did eventually found him, he was up a tree and refused to come down, even to talk to his father who was working out of town.

She sent her domestic worker to fetch her son, thinking he might be more comfortable with her, but found him gone.

Since then, the Masuku’s and their relatives have conducted numerous searches with the police. The dog unit has also been involved.

“Whenever a dog barks you still want to run outside and check that just maybe it could be him. I have searched his school bag and his room for clues. I have been to all his friends. That first night I was so stressed the one side of my body was numb, I thought I was going to have a stroke.”

Siyabonga’s father, Patrick, described the pressure of the situation as unbearable.

“I really don’t understand what is behind this. I wish to know what is happening in his mind. This is the time he should be writing his exams … I need a professional who can tell me how to avoid it from happening again because I just don’t know. His aunt and granny are all here, no one can go to work?”

The Masukus say it is the first time something like this has happened. Siyabonga hardly even visited friends and was always at home.

A case has not been opened with the police, but Siyabonga’s mother said she was made to sign a form when she reported the incident at Townhill police station on Wednesday.

Anyone with information can contact his father at 082 442 2384 or his aunt Thandeka at 072 519 5324.

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