Segametsi: A 20-year search for answers

Waiting in vain: Nene still has no closure
Waiting in vain: Nene still has no closure

By some accounts, she had been selling oranges on the day of her abduction. The bright Radikolo CJSS student unwittingly became an indelible part of local crime history when her mutilated body was discovered in Mochudi on November 6, 1994. Mmegi Correspondent, LERATO MALEKE, revisits the heart-rending tale.

“Twenty years have passed, but I have heard nothing about my daughter. Not even a single police officer coming to my house or calling the other siblings,” says 65-year-old Nene Mogomotsi.

Twenty years ago, her daughter, Segametsi Mogomotsi, was abducted in Mochudi and was found the following day, mutilated and with body parts missing in a case of ritual murder. Riots and official reports have never brought any answers for Nene.

Segametsi, who would have been 34 years old last week, remains an emotionally raw nerve for most Batswana and the subject of much debate.

What hurts her mother most is that her husband of many years has since left her and Segametsi’s siblings and is now living in a different yard with another woman.

Nene had five children and is now left with three after losing Segametsi and another child who passed away last year. Segametsi’s sister – Dipuo, who was born in 1983 and was in Standard Four when Segametsi was murdered – is now breastfeeding her own child.

Nene looks exhausted and reveals that she has given up on finding out about what happened to her daughter.

“Only God knows what happened to her,” she says. “I am not in a position to judge anyone. I no longer feel any pain because I have given everything to the Almighty.”

 Despite her resignation, Nene still lives in hope that one day, government or the Scotland Yard report commissioned into the murder, will reveal something about her daughter’s death.

“The last time I communicated with the police was in 1994 and I have never bothered to ask the police about the results of the Scotland Yard investigation.”

At the time of Segametsi’s death, Nene and her children shared a one-roomed hut, which was a source of further pain for her when her poverty was exposed to the world during the investigation and the funeral.

Today, Nene’s family lives in two better medium-sized structures. With the little she earned as a cleaner at Kgatleng District Council, Nene was able to save for better accommodation.

 She has since retired and has committed herself to service at the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Boseja ward, which has provided comfort for her 20-year-old wound.

“Our pastors pray for us and are aware about Segametsi’s death.

“They teach us that prayer is the solution to everything.”

Across the main road to Sikwane behind International Pentecostal Church (IPC), is the yard where Segametsi’s mutilated body was dumped. At the time of her death in 1994, the area was bushy.

The late Mpura Motsosi was allocated the plot in 1999 and the Council built his destitute children, Ghandie, Kemo, Onyana, Keamogetswe and Gofa, a house there. Later, Mpura’s son, Gofa, managed to build another house in the same yard.

Gofa’s elder sister, Ghandie says when she moved to the plot in 2011, her younger sisters and brothers stayed away as they were afraid of its history.

“People around here are afraid of this area. They teased us saying we would see Segametsi’s ghost right here because this is where she was dumped,” says Ghandie.

Ghandie’s grandmother recalls the fateful day in 1994 when news spread early in the morning that a half-naked female body had been found dumped in the plot now occupied by her grandchildren.

At the time, she says Ghandie and her sibling Kemo, where still young, while Gofa and another grandchild, Onyana, were not yet born.

“Both Ghandie and Kemo wanted to view the body and I locked them inside the house,” she recalls.

“They were still young and it is taboo for young ones to view a corpse.”

She remembers that the first person to see the body was a certain Richard, a local police officer at the time who has since retired.

“He covered the body with a box until the police came and collected it. The young girl was identified as Segametsi,” the old woman says.

The mystery of Segametsi’s murder remains an enduring ache in the hearts and minds of Batswana – a reminder of how a young, promising life can be snuffed out so easily while the perpetrators evade justice.

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