'I was stolen at birth' – Polokwane woman tells her story

Kopano Mapheto. (Photo: Supplied)
Kopano Mapheto. (Photo: Supplied)

I am a 24-year-old and was raised by an amazing mother that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I grew up in a large family of 12 and everyone calls me ‘Ngwanyana wa Mogoto’ (Mogoto’s girl) – a nickname that I’ve had all my life.

When I found out from my mother how my nickname came about, I was so angry and sad.


My mother gave birth to me through caesarean section and she was very fragile and weak. She had just lost the woman that raised her and her grandmother, who’d been there for her when her mom passed away.

At the hospital near Polokwane, there were separate wards for new-born babies and their mothers. I was born in the evening.

The hospital routine included patients going for prayers and breastfeeding their babies before heading to breakfast. But the day after I was born, when my mother came to breastfeed me, I was nowhere to be found.

One of her closest friends who had also just given birth joined to look for me without any luck. They informed the nurses and every woman who had given birth the previous day was called in together with their babies.


The nurses and new moms were all shocked to see there was a missing mother and an abandoned new born boy. When the nurses checked who the abandoned baby belonged to, they found that the missing lady was indeed the mother and she wasn’t supposed to be discharged according to the doctor.

Fortunately, the hospital had the woman’s details and found out that she was 19 years old and lived in a village called Mogoto near Zebediela. Police and all relevant officials were informed of the matter. I am told that 12 police vans were dispatched to go and find the woman.


Fortunately, she had gone straight to her house and the police found her there. My mother waited for me at the hospital and when the police brought me back to her, she was elated. As for the woman who had stolen me, she tried to explain why she had done what she did.

She had given birth to a disabled child and was scared of the responsibility associated with raising a special needs child. My mother was just happy to have me back, so she decided not to press charges against the woman as she was clearly devastated about her baby’s disability.

I now understand how my mother must have felt that day as I am currently pregnant and have already formed an unbreakable bond with my baby. I am so happy that life reunited me with my biological mom.

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