Missing birthday girls nowhere to be found
February was meant to be a month for birthday celebrations.
But, instead, the Moitsi and Morapedi families in Senwabarwana, Limpopo, are awash in an ocean of emotional confusion.
Their children's birthdays this month are a harsh reminder that their kids have been missing for an agonising 17 months.
Both daughters were born in the month of February - Kate on February 11 1997 and Khomotso on February 25 1992.
They could have been celebrating their birthdays together.
But Kate Thapelo Moitsi and her cousin, Khomotso Johanna Morapedi, disappeared on September 17 2005 under mysterious circumstances.
The children arrived home from church that fateful day and told their parents they were going to watch television at their neighbour's house.
That was the last time they were seen.
Who knows if they are even still alive?
Their disappearance has rocked the tiny village of GaMotlana in GaMaleboho, outside Senwabarwana.
And what worries the families most is that nobody knows where they are, or what has happened to them.
Sowetan spoke to the two mothers during a visit to the families yesterday.
"It has been a painful period since the children's disappearance. I have cried a lot since the beginning of the month, thinking that I could have celebrated Kate's 10th birthday with her on Sunday," said 30-year-old mother Maphuti Beauty Moitsi.
She said she was disappointed with the police officers who visited her two weeks ago to ask if there were not any developments regarding the search for her daughter.
"We rely on police to make investigations. But if they come to ask us for clues, then we start to lose hope that they will ever find them," she said.
Revina Morapedi, 45, Khomotso's mother, said excessive crying had dried up her rivers of tears.
"Khomotso would be celebrating her 15th birthday on Sunday next week and obviously we would be doing something for her. Now she has disappeared without trace. This is killing me, really," she said.
Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo said the search for the children was continuing.
He urged the public to help them with information.
The families, however, are losing hope that they will ever see their precious daughters