Gran lost in forest now found

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

A 75-year-old woman who disappeared after going to collect firewood was yesterday found safe - three days after she went missing.

Last Friday Sophia Seema of Malebitsa village in the Moutse area of Limpopo went to collect firewood in the forest and got lost.

Family members became increasingly worried when she did not return.

"We then reported her to the police as a missing person and community members volunteered to take part in a search fore her," said Seema's son, Zacharia.

When Sowetan visited the family yesterday, hundreds of local villagers had gathered in the yard after hearing she had been found.

"We were helping this family to trace Sophia and we're happy for them that she is still alive," said one member of the community.

Zacharia said: "My mom left home at about 1pm to collect wood, something which she does almost every day. But we became worried when she did not return.

"We thought something terrible might have happened to her.

"What was even more puzzling was that none of the villagers, here at home or at neighbouring villages, had seen her on the day of her disappearance."

The relieved son said that, given a large number of incidents recently where people have had parts of their bodies cut off for muti purposes, his family did not think that Sophia would be found in one piece.

"While busy looking for her in the bushes, we received a phone call from an anonymous caller," Zacharia said.

"The caller said that my mom had been found safe in Vaalbank, near KwaMhlanga, and that she was at the local police station.

"When we got there we couldn't believe our eyes when we saw that it was really indeed her and that she was alive."

Seema's other child, Lizzy, said: "She couldn't tell us where she had been. She just said her trip was a very long one and that a certain lady had helped her with food and accommodation.

"From now on there is no way we will allow her to go out on her own again," Lizzy said.