Some of the most difficult stories to do as journalists are covering tragedies that involve human loss. The most challenging part is approaching the families of the deceased at their time of shock and mourning to get them to narrate their feelings and share their story of what really happened.
Such assignments are heartbreaking to us journalists but like in any field of work, they are just regarded as occupational challenges that we must overcome.
So when such assignments come we are expected to be these super humans that take out emotions and search for the story amidst people’s pains and sorrows.
In the wake of the Ramantosha family tragedy – where three members of the family were found dead in their house in what the police suspected to be a murder - we were assigned to visit their homestead in Molepolole to get the story from the surviving family members.
After some scrappy directions we located the victims’ homestead at Ntloelengwae ward. There were already dozens of people gathered at the yard. After some hesitations we braved in and requested to meet the family representative who is able to share with us what they know of the tragedy.
After our introductions, we were sent to sit and wait behind one of the houses where one family member was called in to help us. But the poor woman on hearing that we are journalists, shot up and said she had already spoken to the media in the morning.
Even though we tried to explain that we were from a different media house, she did not want to listen. We, however told her that we understood and we were fine if she could not talk to us. Our conversation attracted attention from other people who began to gather around us to hear what we were enquiring about. A young man who had been observing us from a distance, shouted his displeasure at our presence in their yard.
The young man, holding a can of Dragon Energy drink walked over to the group of people who were now encircling us. He was pissed and mad, accusing us of not approaching them well. We tried to make him and others understand, but things only got worse as the man got even madder. Other family members tried to calm him down, but he continued unabated.
Avoiding to create an ugly scene at such a painful moment we tried, as calm as we could, to explain the role of media, telling him that we did not mean to show disrespect, nor were we trying to shine with their tragedy, but were just reporters attempting to share their story with equally shocked people in Molepolole and Botswana. But the young man would not calm down and even ordering us to leave their yard.
We left the yard disappointed and confused as to why our mere innocent enquiries could be received with
Four weeks after the tragedy, it is even stupefying that the same young man who chased enquiring reporters from the yard is now reported missing.
On Wednesday the police issued a media release appealing to members of the public’s assistance with information that could lead to the whereabouts of Tebogo Ramantosha. They revealed that he was last seen on July 5, around lunchtime wearing a black trouser, black jacket, black shoes and carrying a black and navy bag containing clothing.
Contrary to some reports that Ramantosha might be implicated in his family’s brutal killings, police are adamant that they only need him as a missing person following a police report by his family members after not seeing him for days.
“Recently a tragedy occurred at the Ramantosha family of Ntloelengwae ward at Molepolole in which a husband, wife and their son were found dead with their hands and legs tied up. “After not seeing the surviving son for days, the deceased’s family members got concerned, curious and opened a case of a missing person. We are pleading for members of the public’s assistance with information that could lead to Tebogo’s whereabouts,” the deputy public relations officer of the Botswana Police Service (BPS), senior superintendent Near Bagali told Mmegi.
Bagali said they have not yet arrested any suspect (s) in relation to the matter, hence investigations to establish what really transpired on the fateful day are still ongoing.
“We suspect that the family was murdered, hence pleading with anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) to contact the nearest police,” he said. Asked about the allegations that Tebogo might be implicated in his family’s brutal killings, Bagali said they were only looking for him as a missing person, but not linking him to his family’s killings.
He appealed for anyone with information of what really happened to notify the police. “We are open for any kind of assistance in arresting the culprit (s) hence open for any tip them off to resolve this triple murder case. Our investigating team is working hard to establish what really transpired as well as to locate the suspect (s),” he said.
Last week police issued a reward of P50,000 to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of suspect (s) involved in the death of the deceased (Patrick Ramantosha 55, Fridah Ramantosha 47 and Keabetswe Ramantosha 22) who are suspected to be murder victims.