113 year-old-woman dies fighting for justice

Maite Matsepane
Maite Matsepane

A Limpopo granny who waged a 14-year battle to access her ancestors' graves on a well-known farming estate, ZZ2, has died.

The family of Maite Matsepane, 113, who died at the weekend, expressed sadness that she could not realise her wish while still alive but vowed to fight on in her honour.

Matsepane, from GaRapitsi village in Modjadjiskloof, was one of the 16 families who accused ZZ2 of destroying more than 80 graves to make way for an avocado farm. They further accused the company of denying them access to the graves since 2008.

Matsepane's grandchild Thoba Matsepane said his granny died unhappy as she was still fighting to locate her parents' remains after graves were flattened last year in Modjadjiskloof near Tzaneen.

"She was fond of practicing her culture and was always worried that she was not able to visit her family's graves," Thoba said. "She told the family to continue fighting ZZ2 injustices."

Thoba said the family had 16 graves on the farm, which they had left behind after their removal. ZZ2 has vehemently denied destroying the graves.

At least eight families opened a case against the farmer for allegedly destroying the graves.

Col Moatshe Ngoepe said police were still investigating a case of violation of graves.

Simon Motolla, whose family is contesting the destruction of the graves, said Matsepane's spirit would not rest in peace until justice is served.

"I started this journey with her in 2008 and she always spoke passionately about land and graves. She died complaining that the government had failed her," Motolla said.

"Given the resistance we received when we went to lay charges against the farmer, I can tell you that many senior citizens are going to die without getting answers," he said.

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