Police thwart residents from burning the house of an illegal initiation school principal

Tlotlo Sedibe was buried in Setlopo village last week after he was murdered at an illegal initiation school.
Tlotlo Sedibe was buried in Setlopo village last week after he was murdered at an illegal initiation school.
Image: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Residents in the village where a 14-year-old boy was killed for asking for water before trying to escape from an illegal initiation school have threatened to burn down the house belonging to the school principal.

At the meeting called by the local chief yesterday, residents in Setlopo village in Mahikeng, North West, chased away the school principal Koboyatshwene Sello before going to his home and demanding all remaining initiates be released.

Top of the list of things to be discussed at the meeting was how Tlotlo Sedibe died and circumstances that led to his death.

Tlotlo died in December 4  when he was allegedly attacked by other initiates after trying to escape from the school. He was complaining that he was thirsty and needed water.

He was then beaten to death.

The meeting could not start as angry residents were not happy about the presence of  the school principal’s traditional healer.

They then demanded that the chief must tell them his plan with Sello as he was still operating the illegal school.

Two women told him that their children were badly beaten but survived death.

Peace Marungwana said her son, also 14 years old, was missing. “He was a close friend with Tlotlo. If he returns back home dead from that school, I am going to sort Sello out myself, I will not even include the police, I will take the law into my own hands,” she said.

Rosina Mokaleng said her nephew,19, managed to escape with bad wounds. “He was admitted in hospital for a week as result. This school is killing our children,” she said.

Maserame Tau  said her son was also assaulted at the school. “They placed a rope on his neck and started attacking him. I am lucky he is alive,” she said.

The school started operating in June this year.

The chief Kebonemodisa Mokgoetsi said if he had the power, he would suspend the initiation school operation as it was not something he approved of.

“I do not understand how these schools work. I have headmen whom I always consult with when I need information about this operation, I don’t like it and I don’t know it,” he said.

Resident shouted with disbelief and told the chief he was failing them. They got into cars as well as marched to Sello’s house, saying they will take the law into their own hands.

“We are tired. Tlotlo died a cruel death, and the killer still has some of our children, we want him out of the village,” said resident Aubrey Lepaku.

At Sello’s house, there was a kraal believed to have housed the initiates, with their blankets hanging on the line.

Sello, who was present at the house when residents picketed outside his yard, was seen holding  a cellphone and making calls. A few minutes later the police arrived.

Sello then directed them to a field where he said they will find the kraal where initiates were housed.

Police found the kraal dismantled and Sello’s traditional doctor warned them not to burn the place as Sello still has initiates who have not completed their training.

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