At just three years old, Mitah Molete was unaware of the horror that had befallen her and her family when white marauders unexpectedly stormed into her home, killing her father, slicing off her mother’s thumb and brutally slicing her scalp open using an axe.
On June 17, 1992, the innocent toddler had no idea that this attack would leave her wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life as a result of the Boipatong Massacre.
Now 33 years old, Molete, who spoke to City Press at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the massacre held in the township on Friday, said while she could not recall the incident, the tale relayed to her by her mother who died in 2018 left her not only physically crippled but also affected her emotionally and mentally.
Clad in a bright yellow jacket, Molete was wheeled into the Boipatong Museum.
Survivors of the massacre, as well as family members of those who lost their lives 30 years ago, visited the graves of the deceased at the Vuka Cemetery in Sharpeville and offered prayers. There was also a wreath-laying ceremony.
READ: Boipatong massacre survivor still haunted by bloody tragedy 30 years later
“Please forgive me as I am slow,” she calmly explained as City Press prepared to speak with her.
“I was asleep when it happened, so I have no recollection of it. But, my mother explained to me exactly what happened that night before she died four years ago.”
According to Molete, her mother said while she was asleep, her family’s shack was broken into by men who tore down a side sheet of corrugated iron, which allowed them access.
“They first stabbed my dad on the hip, and his blood filled the floor. They then dragged him outside and emptied about five to eight bullets into his already ailing body.
“Although they wore balaclavas, my mother said that their blue eyes stared back at us and that was how she knew they were white men.
“However, black men were also among them.”
Molete explained that after her father was killed, her mother immediately attempted to run to safety.
That one blow to her fragile head has haunted her, and her inability to walk has broken her.
“Somehow, my mother managed to get help and that is how I am still here to tell this tale today.”
Molete explained that it hadn’t been easy to cope with her experience.
“We need support from government.”
This was a sentiment echoed by Sipho Khumalo, the assistant manager of the Sedibeng District responsible for heritage and museums. Khumalo told City Press that government needed to do more to help the survivors and family members of those who lost their lives 30 years ago and are still struggling both emotionally and mentally.
Addressing survivors of the massacre, as well as family members, Emfuleni mayor Sipho Radebe said those who were brutally slaughtered paid the ultimate price for our freedom.