Pauper's burial for man eaten by rats
A SICKLY Atteridgeville man whose face was partially eaten by rats after he died a lonely death in a backyard room was given a pauper's burial at Mamelodi West Cemetery yesterday.
All his family except for his youngest brother had disowned him.
On September 9, Lucas Motsepe, 59, was found dead by his landlord's children in the backyard room he was renting. They had become worried when they did not see him in the morning - given his poor health.
A counsellor and community worker, Mmabatho Khoza of The Ark Ministries, told Sowetan that Motsepe survived by doing gardening for local residents and received care from their NGO, Funanani Trust.
"He died at night in the backyard room he was renting," Khoza said. "He was found lying on the floor with parts of his face eaten by rodents.
"The nose and the flesh below both eyes was gone."
This was corroborated by funeral undertaker Senex Mashile, who said it had been hard to identify the deceased because of his disfigured face.
Motsepe's younger brother, Mandla, said that they had lost their family home after their parents died some years ago.
Mashile said one of Motsepe's other brothers had reneged on his initial promise to pay R2,000 for a full funeral service.
"His young brother, Mandla, [then] offered to pay the money in instalments with the meagre pay he makes from gardening in town," he said.
"That alone prompted me to do the service for free."
Some people and organisations such as Funanani Trust and The Ark Ministries and the families the deceased worked for donated money to buy groceries for the funeral service which took place at Mashile's home in Mamelodi Block C.
Peter Marema, a local councillor, praised Mashile for his role in the burial, describing him as a "'true community builder".