Mangope’s ‘love child’ seeks answers

2018-01-28 06:00
Matsepho Motshumi

Matsepho Motshumi

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A 46-year-old woman has come forward with the startling claim that she is the lost love child of Bophuthatswana Bantustan leader Lucas Mangope.

Matsepho Motshumi, a teacher living in Soweto, says her attempts for the past five years to be recognised by him led to nothing but rejection and disappointment.

Mangope was buried yesterday in his home village of Motswedi, 40km west of Zeerust in North West.

On Thursday family spokesperson and Mangope’s nephew Bathoeng Mangope would not be drawn on Motshumi’s claims, saying the family wanted the chance to give Magope a decent burial.

On Friday Motshumi told City Press that she was determined to attend Mangope’s funeral, even though she was rejected by him several times and denied access to his home by a security guard when she went there with her husband and a police officer five years ago.

Born in Zeerust and raised by her grandmother, Motshumi grew up with her cousins. Her mother, a teacher at a farm school, would visit on weekends.

She said she never knew who her father was and became sad when her cousins boasted about their fathers.

But, she claims, in the early 2000s her aunt and elder sister finally told her Mangope was her father, even though her mother wouldn’t talk about it.

Motshumi’s elder sister, Nthabiseng Mapohoshe, told City Press this week that their late mother Stella Motshumi confided in their aunt, saying Mangope was her last-born’s father.

“Our family was close to the Mangopes as we had an uncle who was a parliamentary speaker in Bophuthatswana at the time,” Mapohoshe said.

“It was not easy then to reveal such news. We don’t know why our mother kept the news a secret. All the elders in the family knew.”

Motshumi didn’t quite believe it, but a chance meeting with a stranger at Bloemfontein’s Central University of Technology in 2005 convinced her it was true.

At the meeting on campus a man, who identified himself as Teboho, a bodyguard of a politician, asked her name.

On hearing her surname was Motshumi, “he laughed and said, ‘I thought you had a different surname’. I asked him who he thought I was,” Motshumi said.

“He said he has seen me for the first time but there was an old man whom I resembled and that I was the spitting image of his eldest son. I asked him where the old man was from and he replied ‘North West’.

“Damn! You really look like your father!” he said. She asked him who her father was.

“It’s Lucas Mangope,” he replied.

Three years later Motshumi brought up the subject with her mother again.

“She was heartbroken and she started crying for about 15 minutes,” she said.

“I felt very bad about the way she cried and I promised her I would never talk about my father again. I asked her if my father was alive but I could see she was terrified and I reassured her that everything would be okay.”

Her mother died a year later.

In 2012 Motshumi learnt that Mangope lived in Motswedi village and she tried to visit but was turned away.

She claims to have sent a letter to Mangope, accompanied by photographs of her mother and herself, to his personal assistant.

“In the letter I told him who my mother was and that I would like to meet him.”

The woman later confirmed he received the letter but “denied knowledge of my mother and me”.

“She said he refused to speak to me,” she said. “I then told myself that I would return to Zeerust.”

But illness prevented her from doing so.

Last year she wrote to Utatakho, a television programme that traces subject’s fathers by conducting DNA tests. The producers never contacted her.

“I thought about rejection,” she said covering her tears with her hands.

“What I wanted was closure. I think I might not be his only illegitimate child.”

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