‘My husband disappeared just before lockdown – now he’s family is blaming me for his disappearance’

Woman looking out window (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Woman looking out window (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Robin Gentry/Getty Images


It has been 61 days since the lockdown began in South Africa after the Covid-19 outbreak.

For many, the time has flown by quickly as they marked things off their bucket lists. But for Kutlwano Siebe-Gwala* it has been the longest two months of her life.

Kutlwano’s husband of four years, Andile Gwala* (29), is reportedly missing for almost three months without a trace.Worried and imagining the worst, Kutlwano says Andile left their home in Florida, Roodepoort, to meet up with a friend.

“My husband left the house saying he was going to fetch something from a friend who lives nearby. And that was the last time I laid my eyes on him,” she says.Although the two have had their ups and downs, Kutlwana doesn’t believe Andile has quarantined with a lover.“The longest time he has been away from home before is maybe for two days to visit family. I do not think he just one day randomly decided to leave his marriage,” she says.“And had he left me for another woman, he wouldn’t have left his valuables,” she adds.

When Andile left, he was wearing shorts and flip-flops.“All his clothes as well as driver’s licence, ID document, his university certificates and everything he owns is still here. Something must have happened to my husband that fateful night, and I suspect the friend he went to visit,” she says tearfully.To add salt to the wound, Kutlwano says she has been subjected to hostile in-laws who have allegedly done nothing to assist her and have instead insisted that she murdered her husband  and “probably has his body under the bed”.

Read more | The changing face of Covid-19 as drug trials set to start in SA

Theories have emerged from friends and family about what exactly happened to Andile – ranging from him having disappeared with a lover to possible kidnapping and murder.“I have heard many horror stories of what might have happened but I just want closure. If he is with a lover, I deserve to know. If he is dead, I just wish for his body to be found. But I need answers because I have not slept a wink since he left,” she says.Kutlwano has opened a missing person’s case at Florida Police Station, which she says has been a frustrating exercise as no leads have turned up.

Florida Police Station has confirmed to Move! that a case has been opened and it is under investigation.

Andile’s aunt, Doris Gwala*, says “the family speaks about him every day”, hoping he makes a safe return home.“Not a day goes by without us talking about him. If he has passed, we just want his body to be found so we can be able to have closure.”

Kutlwano, who worked as a publicist, was part of the millions of South Africans who found themselves jobless due to lockdown. With her husband gone, she finds herself unable to cope financially.“He is a breadwinner and he has been supporting me since I lost my job,” she says. “Things have been very difficult for me, and I am forced to sell a few valuables and to move out of our home because I have defaulted on rent,” she adds.

“But I still have a glimmer of hope that he will be found alive. But the glimmer darkens with each day that goes by. I just hope he has a good explanation when he finally comes home,” she says. Kutlwano remains hopeful that he will one day walk through the door and cannot imagine the thought of her husband’s body lying in a field somewhere.

*Not their real names



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