“They have shot you badly…pray hard and ask God to spare your life.”
These are the last words Thato Matamane uttered into her husband’s ear, a few seconds before Mr Sebolai Nkesi took his last breath.
As she narrates the ordeal of the recent brutal killing of her husband, Ms Matamane is visibly distressed and traumatised. She cannot come to terms with her tragic loss.
“It was around 9:40 pm on December 20 (2017) when I called my husband on his mobile phone, asking him where he was because it was getting late. He told me he was at Ha Motšoeneng, driving back home,” Ms Matamane said.
Mr Nkesi arrived at their Ha Tsautse home shortly afterwards. In about five minutes to be precise. She heard Mr Sebolai moving his car into his usual parking space.
She also heard the driver’s door closing and waited to welcome him in the house. But her excitement to hear more about the business deal her husband had just sealed and which they had discussed earlier in the day turned into an endless horror nightmare.
“I heard gunshots. I called my husband by name and when he didn’t respond, I opened the door. As I was trying to step out, they shot at the door. I quickly closed it and escaped by a whisker. I ran back into the house,” she said.
She phoned her neighbours asking for help but none of them stepped out for fear of being shot as well. As she sat down, shaken, she remembered that she had not locked the door and quickly went to lock it.
She gathered the strength to open the curtain and see what was happening outside. Her eyes met with a horrifying scene. Her husband’s virtually lifeless body lay between the main entrance door and the car he had just parked.
There were eight wounds on the body and two on his head.
“When I saw his body there, I didn’t care whether they were going to shoot me or not, I opened the door and rushed outside straight to him. He still had his pulse but he had lost so much blood, and I cried; they have shot you. …..pray hard and ask God to spare your life – He responded by nodding slightly. I ran around knocking at my neighbours’ doors to try and get help to get him to hospital,” said Ms Matamane.
The neighbours subsequently opened their doors and attended to Mr Nkesi but it was already too late. Upon inspection, the older neighbours indirectly informed Ms Matamane that her husband was dead.
“They said to me we were no longer going to hospital but needed to wait for the police to come and take his body. It was a nightmare that I haven’t awoken from. I stood there, feeling numb and within no time the police arrived.
“They informed me that the case was beyond them and called for the CID – Criminal Investigations Department – whose officials came after two hours to take statements and collected the body,” Ms Matamane narrated as she pulled down her doek, trying to block out the persistent pain around her upper body.
She added: “I can’t accept that he is dead nor forget what I saw. I have three most distinctive pictures of his body in my mind – when he lay dead, during the post mortem and at the mortuary. Each of these scenes were very different and all remain very vivid in my memory.”
The mother of two minor children said the 35 days since the demise of her husband had not only left her severely distracted but had also deeply traumatized their 9-year-old son who was very close to his father.
“One day I caught him praying, asking God to give me life so I can raise him and his little sister … He was pleading with God that he was not ready to raise his three-year-old sister should I also die. It pained me. My son is a mess now and he is suddenly scared of men because my husband was gunned down by two men. I saw them even though I can’t identify their faces,” she said.
Ms Matamane said the two suspects, still on the run, did not only kill Mr Nkesi but went on to shatter her family’s dreams.
“My husband was a businessman. He had just bought Setsoto (a public bar at Ha ’Nelese) and he had dreams for us, but they are all gone…We just don’t know where and how to start,” she said.
Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said investigations into the case were ongoing and that “no arrests have been made.”