Pietermaritzburg - The family of a special needs child who went missing over a month ago in Copesville are losing hope of ever finding him.Nkosikhona Nxumalo (12) left his home in Swapo A on December 22 to play with other children but never came back.Speaking to The Witness at her house, his aunt Khombisile Nxumalo said the family don’t know what to do anymore. She said they have looked everywhere for him.“Nkosikhona left at around 9am and we thought he was playing with his friends as usual. He never played far from home. We became worried when he didn’t show up in the afternoon.“I went around the neighbourhood asking if anyone had seen him. His friends said he told them he was going home after they had finished playing,” she said.Nxumalo has been taking care of Nkosikhona since his mother died when he was two years old.“The pain is unbearable especially for his grandmother. She is sick and can’t stop asking about him,” she said.The short, light-skinned boy was last seen wearing a pair of grey shorts and a purple T-shirt.He attends H.S. Ebrahim School in Northdale.Nxumalo described the boy as a shy, kind and quiet child who likes playing.She said they had a sad Christmas, with his friends constantly asking for him.Missing Child South Africa National case officer Bianca van Assegen said they will not close the case until they find the child.“We plead with the public to have eyes and ears wide open for any information which might assist,” she said, adding that they had not lost hope of finding him.“Gundi”, as he is known to his friends, is the youngest child in his family. He has a 19-year-old older brother.The family relies on Nkosikhona’s social grant to put food on the table.“The saddest part is not knowing if he is still alive or if he has eaten for that matter. No parent should go through what we are experiencing,” Nxumalo said.“Last week, we went with the police to a farm not far away known as Bhobho. We heard he was seen in the area but when we arrived there was no sign of him.“Life is no longer the same at home. The other children here keep on asking about him and we have to explain what happened.”According to Missing Children SA, of the 10 children who disappeared from December 2015 to August last year in KZN, nine were found, which gives hope to the Nxumalo family.The Department of Education urged members of the public to work with police. “We have full faith in the police that they will work tirelessly to bring the boy home. We urge the parents not to lose hope,” said spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa.Police spokesperson captain Gay Ebrahim said police have worked around the clock to search for the boy. “Our station has carried out numerous visits to hospitals and other places as part of the investigation. The community also came on board and assisted in circulating the missing child on social media.”She appealed to anyone with information on the boy to come forward.If you have any information about the whereabouts of the child, please contact Mountain Rise police investigating officer Detective Warrant Officer Sharon Ramsurran at 033 387 9600 or Missing Child SA at 072 647 7464.