The story of how a courageous six year old boy was killed after defending his mother from a brutal attacker has touched the heart of ulema in the Cape, who travelled to the small town of Taung in Kimberly where the boy was laid to rest on Saturday. Kutlwano Garesape was slashed with a broken bottle after a man attacked his mother and tried to rape her in Jan Kempdorp, while walking eight kilometres to the Taudiarora Primary School last Friday.
He was walking with his 42 year old mother Segomotso Garesape and seven year old brother Kadiso, when they were confronted by the aggressor close to the school. She recalled how Kutlwano slapped the man across the face and told him to let go of her.
“He kept on screaming “let go of my mommy, it is my mommy”, while slapping and kicking the man,” Segomotso told journalists.
The horrific murder has rocked the small town and South Africans have expressed their outrage on social media. Little Kutlwano has been hailed as a hero and his story has made headlines around the world.
In Taung, community members are rallying behind the family, who have been left devastated by the turn of events.
The president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams said they were left so deeply moved by this boy’s bravery, that he and two other shuyookh decided to journey to the funeral on Saturday morning. The funeral was attended by two MEC’s of the Northern Cape, learners, teachers and community members. The funeral procession began at the boy’s home and community members walked to the cemetery.
“It was very emotional seeing this family in bereavement. The mother sat in silence…it was as if she was frozen. When I expressed my condolences, she burst out crying. The feeling expressed by everyone was very heartfelt.”
Taung is a desolate area in the rural parts of Kimberley, where poverty and other social ills are common place.
“It was difficult speaking to the people as most of them don’t speak English. But we can see the community views this boy as a hero,” he said.
Among friends, Kutlwano was known by his nickname ‘John Cena’, named after the famous wrestler, and showed his brute as he took on the assailant to protect the honour of his mother.
At the funeral, Abrahams read out a touching letter to the family extending the ulema’s support and calling for justice for Kutlwano. Abrahams made it clear that there should be no mercy for the perpetrator. During his speech, he called out older brother Kadiso, holding and consoling him.
“Did this 6 year old child simply trying to protect his mother deserve to be killed like that? To be continuously stabbed with a broken bottle…and then killing the child in front of his seven year old brother…how does one make sense of this?”
The alim praised Segomotso for her determination to ensure her sons were educated. On that fateful day, the boys had missed their school bus and she insisted she would walk them to school.
“She walked with them eight kilometers to ensure they did not miss school. She could have easily let them stay at home but to her, education comes first. The distance would have taken them about an hour and a half to walk…”
Moved by the plight of this mother, Abrahams also pledged to take responsibility for the education, clothing and transport of Kadiso.
“This boy witnessed everything…from his mother’s attempted rape to how his brother was killed. Can you imagine how traumatised he is?”
Maulana Adam Veldman, the amir of the Northern Cape Ulema Council, said the MJC’s presence made a huge impact on the residents, who were deeply shook by the brutality of the killing. The provincial ministers were taken aback by the support of the MJC and will engage with Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas to initiate projects with the ulema.
“It was a symbolic outreach of the MJC and the Muslim community to the family and the community of Taung,” said Veldman.
“It’s the beginning of this community’s interaction with Islam and there will be an on-going relationship with our ulema council and this family.”
The alleged assailant‚ Tefelo Dikole‚ 32‚ has already appeared in the Jan Kempdorp Magistrate’s Court. With his next court appearance on Monday, the community has made it clear it will oppose bail.
“This man does not deserve to be called a human being. He should not get bail and the harshest sentence must be handed down,” said Abrahams. VOC