Dark cloud in Lekokoaneng

LEKOKOANENG – “IT is only God who knows why this had to happen to me,” lamented Mokhethi Maapeha, standing near five coffins of his family members last Saturday.
In pain and seemingly lost for answers, Maapeha turned to the divine world as he sought an explanation over the loss of five close family members who all met a cruel and painful death.

Four of them: his wife, a grandchild and two of his triplets died in an accident two weeks ago.
His wife ’Maneo, 58, and their 32-year-old sons Neo and Thabang together with grandson Seeiso were driving on Main North 1 Road two weeks ago when they were involved in a fatal accident.
They all died instantly.

Last Friday their bodies arrived at home in brown coffins and a small white one for little Seeiso.
Neo’s wife ’Maseeiso could not stand the sight, and degenerated into fits of hysteria and lost consciousness.
She was rushed to Berea Hospital, where she too was pronounced dead.
The remaining triplet, Thabo, knelt between the coffins of his brothers seemingly lost in mind, showing a feeling of loss that cannot be measured by words.

At the funeral on the following day, Saturday, Maapeha likened the tragedy to a dark cloud.
Diverting from the popular belief among Christian churches that God is responsible for both life and death, Maapeha blamed the Devil for his family’s tragedy.

“They lie those who say God is the killer, they are self-deceiving,” Maapeha said.
“What happened to my family was the act of the Devil,” he said. “But we are still saying God is almighty. I still maintain that God is big and he knows why this had to happen to me. Ever since my childhood, I have never seen anything like this,” he said.
He said when his daughter-in-law died on Friday he felt even more distraught.

“My daughter-in-law, who was getting better, brought me back to square one when she died just when the coffins arrived,” he said.
He said the incident has left an indelible mark on his life.

“I don’t even know what to do. I wish I could move to a place where no one knows my problems,” said Mokhethi, distressed.
Overcome by emotions, he could not finish the speech and left the podium.  

The surviving triplet, Thabo, was so weak that words failed him.
After a long sigh, all he said was: “The pain I am enduring is not measurable.”
He then left the podium.

’Mampolokeng Maapeha, a relative, said ’Maseeiso had been sick for a while and had just been discharged from Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital on the day of the accident.
“She was still weak but better than the day she was admitted to the hospital,” ’Mampolokeng said.

However, the sight of the coffins carrying her baby and her husband became too much for her. Her body became numb while ’Mampolokeng, who was trying to support her as she was having fits, held her.
“She died in my hands,” ’Mampolokeng said. “I have never cried this much in my life. The pain cuts deep,” she said.

’Maneo’s brother, Matailane Moshoeshoe, said the sight of the bodies lying in the coffins was unbearable.
“This is a historical tragedy and may it not repeat itself,” Moshoeshoe said.
Family friend and neighbour, Ramoliko Monethi, left the podium in tears.
“If this is a human being’s doing, may their spirits fight,” another friend said.

The head of the Maapeha family, Makoae Maapeha, said they were still drained mentally and emotionally. He asked churches to pray for them to find closure and accept that it was bound to happen.
“Even though it is not easy, eventually we will have to accept it,” Makoae said.
He added that the deaths had robbed the family of its breadwinners, appealing for help.

Senekale councilor, Molisana Nkheloane, said the funeral was emotionally draining.
He said every time he looked at Mokhethi he felt sorry for him.
“I wish God salves his deep wound and bandages it,” Nkheloane said.
Nkheloane said this was not the first fatal accident at the same place.
“We have had so many deaths there,” he said, calling for the construction of speed humps on the stretch of the road that has become a black spot.
“Everyone should reduce speed when they get there,” he said. “Enough is enough,” he said.

Chief Souru Masupha, the Lekokoaneng Area Chief, said after hearing about the accident, he was even “afraid” to go and see Mokhethi.
“I didn’t even know what I would say to him to console him. But still, I went and managed to console him,” Chief Masupha said.
The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Transport Thabo Motoko said the high number of road accidents lately is shocking.
“It is sad to bury so many people at once due to an accident,” he said.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro said Mokhethi should accept that what happened to him was a test from God.
He said it is difficult for people to believe that such can be done to someone.
“But it happens and accept it,” he said.
“I know it is hard to accept and believe that this is God’s doing.”
He said it is right not to believe it as it is another way of consolation or healing.

“The truth is, consoling oneself starts by being in denial first but with God’s mercy one eventually accepts,” Majoro said.
Majoro said road accidents happened frequently in Lesotho, recalling one he came across at Butha-Buthe a week earlier.
“We have to change our strategy,” he said.
He said the surviving family members will struggle financially “because of deaths we believe could have been avoided”.
“We won’t desert Mokhethi,” he said.

‘Mapule Motsopa

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