Who is the boy for whom Coligny burns?

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Business owners and residents of the small farming town of Coligny clean up the rubble and burnt tyres that had blocked the streets after days of protest.Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press
Business owners and residents of the small farming town of Coligny clean up the rubble and burnt tyres that had blocked the streets after days of protest.Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

A name on a shoe. That’s the only clue to the identity of a boy whose death has torn apart the small farming town of Coligny.

Nobody has come forward to claim the body of the 12-year-old boy, which has been in a state mortuary for a week.

Violent protests broke out in the small farming town in the North West after the boy was killed in an alleged racist attack.

Although his death plunged the area into chaos leaving at least three houses and trucks owned by white residents torched, none of the community members who spoke to City Press knew the boy or could tell us his name.

All they knew was that a boy was assaulted by farmers after he and other children were found in their sunflower fields.

Police spokesperson Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone confirmed the body was yet to be identified.

He died on Thursday after he was allegedly assaulted by men on a farm on the outskirts of Coligny.

“We are still trying to get him identified but last night we arrested two men aged 33 and 36 who are now facing charges of murder. They will appear in court soon,” he said.

A former councillor in Tlhabologang township, Stanny Mnyakama, is one of the community members trying to get the boy identified.

“All we have is the name Kabelo Fani, which was found written on his shoe. We’re hoping this is his name and someone out there can help us trace his parents or relatives,” he said.

Community members had promised to stop the protests once those linked to the boy’s death were arrested. But the tension remained thick in Coligny.

The community of Tlhabologang went on the rampage in reaction to the boy’s death, citing racism as the motivation.

They targeted houses and other properties close to the township.

This has raised fears that the incident could lead to fresh racial tension in this small town.

Earlier today a group of journalists drove into the township to a cold welcome from community members who later said: “The problem is that you came here with your white colleagues. We don’t want any white people here ... just leave with them.”

Back in town, one business owner said they were afraid that the recent incident, which was seen as a “racist attack” by the community, could lead to “some trouble and deep hatred between black and white communities”.

“I just hope those who are in the wrong are left for the police and courts to deal with them accordingly and that this incident does not open old wounds where we are seen as enemies of the black community. We don’t want that,” he said.

Meanwhile, business owners had to count their losses after their shops were broken into and looted during yesterday’s protest.

An elderly man who owns furniture and hardware stores that were looted said: “This is a family business that has been running for 76 years and after today, we’re thinking of closing it down. They cleaned us out and we did not have any insurance. I don’t really know what went wrong but it is the innocent who are now suffering.”

A group of community members had earlier embarked on a clean-up campaign, clearing the main street in town of rubble and rocks that were use to smash the shops’ windows.

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