Residents of Kootilane Ward in Thamaga are living in fear of what they claim to be mysterious fires that burn their homes.
So far, they say the fires have destroyed eight houses in the ward since September. Residents claim that the unexplained fires, described as diphera, break-out in between 3am and 4am. First they thought that the first house was bewitched but they have now realised that the fires hit randomly.
Modimoosi Kesatshogile (57) said that her house was burnt last Friday morning and she would have perished with her family if neighbours did not rescue her. She said she was asleep with her family when they were suddenly woken up by screams from neighbours.
She said they were shocked to find their hut burning. She said that when they were still a state of confusion and trying to figure out what was happening, they heard other screams from the other side of the yard as her cousin's house was also burning.
With frustration written on her face, Kesatshogile said that the whole family is now in fear and confusion over the cause of the fires. She said that her sister's house also burned a few weeks ago. "
Re gamaregile fela, ga re itse gore go rileng," she said. She added that they were unable to rescue anything from the burning houses because the fire starts from inside. "Molelo o simologa mo teng, o thanya fela e le gore go fedile, ntlo e setse e wela," she lamented.
Kesatshogile is surprised by the fact that most of the houses that burnt were huts used as storerooms. She claimed that they lost tents and carpets they were renting to people for weddings and parties. She claimed to have lost four doors and other property.
Kesatshogile said that her neighbour, who has now relocated to Gaborone had a much worse experience. The fires burnt her neighbour's two houses six times. "E bile o itlhobogile o fodugile," she said. She described the situation as a painful one given that the houses burnt both at night and daytime.
A rather dismayed Godiramang Thatoeng, a cousin to
Thatoeng said that though she is disappointed with what happened, she is not surprised.She said that her husband, who died this year, had warned that after his passing, there will be problems in the family. She said that people now live in fear of the fires as they do not now who will be next. She said the fires started from the west and seems to be moving east of the ward.
Another victim, Pogiso Senegelo, said that his hut burnt in October. He stated that his uncle woke them up, but they were not able to save anything from the mysterious fire.
However, Senego blamed a traditional doctor, who claims to be a prophet for the mysterious fire. He said the doctor once performed a ritual at his home. "Baruti ba re ke diphera, ba re ngaka e e thaileng motse o ke ene a dirileng." He said that he went to the traditional doctor to ask for his cow back, which he had given to him as payment for the service. Kgosi Gobuamang Gobuamang declined to comment referring Monitor enquiries to his deputy, Kgosi Segale Gobuamang who said he knows nothing about the fires.