‘Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’

2017-09-17 05:57
Prisoner Boikanyo Motasi, who is serving a life sentence for killing his niece, talks to his sister Lesego Motasi, the mother of the victim Dipuo Motasi. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Prisoner Boikanyo Motasi, who is serving a life sentence for killing his niece, talks to his sister Lesego Motasi, the mother of the victim Dipuo Motasi. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

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It has been 16 years and they haven’t seen or spoken to each other.

Now, Lesego Motasi has finally plucked up the courage to look straight into her brother’s eyes – the man who killed her daughter.

Some level of animosity could still be felt between the siblings as they sat next to each other trying to converse.

Dressed in an orange prison uniform, ­Boikanyo Motasi has been cut off from his family since he was arrested for the murder of Dipuo Motasi in March 2000.

He is serving a life sentence at Rooigrond Prison near Mahikeng, North West.

Lesego said that, until recently, she had been skipping a specific line in the Lord’s Prayer because she struggled to find it in her heart to forgive her brother.

Now that she has met her brother after more than a decade, she hopes she can say the full prayer daily, ­including the words “...and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

Lesego sat with her head bowed as Boikanyo took to the podium during an event organised by the North West government and department of correctional services in Mahikeng on Thursday.

He was one of the ­offenders who faced their victims or family members to say: “I’m sorry.”

The event was part of the department’s victim­offender mediation programme. It helped Boikanyo and Lesego deal with the emotions they have bottled up for years.

Boikanyo said it all started when he reprimanded his niece, who had not slept at home the previous night.

“She told me I was not her father ... she then started attacking me and, instead of going away from all this, I fought back and my actions resulted in her death.

“I do not carry a knife or a gun ... it was with my bare hands that did it. I don’t know what got into me, but it was never my intention to kill my niece ... to my sister and everyone, I am sorry,” he said.

“After trying several times to commit suicide, I decided not to waste the court’s time and admitted guilt so that I could pay for my wrong. I was slapped with a life sentence and have already spent 16 years inside.”

In her response, Lesego assured her brother that he was forgiven. Boikanyo cut a forlorn figure, but attentively listened to his sister.

“I accepted when I was told the first time that Dipuo was dead, but it was not easy when informed that my own brother killed her.

"All these years have been very hard for me as I yearned to visit him in prison, talk to him and ask him ‘why’? But I was scared about what would happen when I looked him in his eyes.

“He is my brother ... that will never change, and I forgive him,” she said.

"I am sorry for the pain I have caused her"

Earlier on, a woman from Mahikeng told her neighbour, Obakeng Mogabe, who was convicted of raping her, that she had forgiven him.

Mogabe said he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he committed the crime when he was 23 in 2011.

He was accompanying her home, and she trusted him because he was a neighbour

“It was intentional, I admit it. But I didn’t remember what had happened the following day when I woke up. I am sorry for the pain I have caused her,” Mogabe said.

The survivor said she had always seen him as a “younger brother” and said she wanted them to continue living well as neighbours now that he was out on parole.

Several other offenders were also forgiven by their victims or families, including a woman who said she was happy to have her father back from prison, where he served time for killing her mother, his wife.

Speaking at the event, Premier Supra Mahumapelo said he was also ready to sit down with a former ANC councillor who will know her fate later this month after she was arrested and charged with conspiring to kill him.

“I will forgive her once she’s spoken the truth. I will ask her to tell me exactly what she was doing,” he said.

“It is important to renew, heal and reconcile. We saw that it was fitting to bring victims and offenders together for this purpose, and we want this programme to grow,” Mahumapelo said.


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Read more on:    supra mahumapelo  |  mahikeng

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