Saturday, September 19, 2020

Young girl’s tragic death in the Okavango causes uproar

Eight year old Kelapile Kayawe, a standard 1 student at Xakao Primary school, recently died tragically in the bush. She had lost her way while trying to go back to her home village in Tobere. Her body was later discovered 155 kilometres away. By that time, vultures had already started feeding on her.

On October 21st, Kelapile’s brother brought her back to the hostel and handed her to the care takers. When he returned home, little Kelapile followed him. Unfortunately, she did not catch up with him, and she finally got lost in the bush.

Kelapile’s older sister was on Sunday the 25th allowed to visit her parents in Tobere. When she got home she informed the parents that her younger sister had not been at the school hostel since the previous Wednesday. Alarmed, Kelapile’s parents immediately organised a search team and they went to look for the little girl. They would never find her.

Meanwhile, the hostel management had never bothered to look for little Kelapile, or even to notify her parents, ever since she went missing on October 21st.

It was only when little Kelapile’s older sister came back to school on October 26th to report that her younger sister was not at home that the hostel management started to take notice. Unfortunately it was a little too late.
By Monday, the search for little Kelapile was in full swing, and community members went to seek the assistance of the police.

The Botswana Defence Force personnel came aboard on Tuesday, and little Kelapile’s badly decomposed body was finally discovered on Wednesday the 28th, seven days after she went missing. The young girl had travelled throughout the wildlife infested bush for five days, covering a distance of 155km. She died of hunger, thirst and exposure, very alone and without the care and love of her parents.

Because her body was badly decomposed, little Kelapile was buried the very next day, without a post mortem report.
Community members have raised concern that the hostel management had been very negligent in that they failed to raise the alarm when they realised that little Kelapile was missing. Residents of Tobere have also called for school facilities to be brought closer to the settlement so that parents can directly take care of their children.

NB: Splash is a community activist in Tobere. This article is part of the community reporting he is involved in.

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