An old madala warned three boys not to cross the river because the river snake was angry. He told the boys something bad could happen to them if they crossed the river.
According to a 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named, the incident happened right before his eyes.
He said he saw Katleho Mokoenyane (14) and his two friends trying to cross the river.
But he was surprised that there was a madala who came out of nowhere and told the boys not to cross the river because the river’s snake was angry.
He said: “The madala then disappeared around the trees near the river. A few minutes later, Katleho tried to cross the river and he drowned.
“I jumped into the river and tried to save him.
“He was under the water, I was able to reach him and put his hands around my shoulder. As I was swimming towards a safe place, he fell into the river and managed to hold my left leg.”
He said suddenly Katleho could not hold his leg and he disappeared under the water.
“I tried my best to save him. Unfortunately, he’s gone. It’s hard to believe. When I saw him being pulled out of the river, I cried and wished I could have saved him.”
Katleho’s mum Sylvia Mokoenyane said she was heartbroken.
She said her son was looking forward to going to high school next year.
The grade 7 pupil at Abram Hlophe Primary School’s life was cut short when he drowned on Wednesday, 25 November.
His lifeless body was recovered on Thursday, 26 November by the Ekurhuleni SAPS Water Wing Team in the river situated between Moleleki extension 2 and Khumalo Section in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni.
Sylvia (43) said the river has robbed her and the family of a precious son who had a promising life ahead of him.
“My angel is gone! A few days ago, he told me he can’t wait to go to high school.
“His death has left a void in our family that will never be filled,” she said.
Sylvia said Katleho left home in the morning to see one of his friends and he appeared to be in a happy mood.
“Little did I know, it was the last time seeing my son alive.
“I was sitting in the dining room when two boys came and told me to rush to the river because Katleho had disappeared under the water.
“When I arrived at the river, there were some people who were standing near the river, one of them told me my son has drowned,” she said.
She said cops came and the police divers were called, and they searched for him until after 7 pm, but couldn’t find him.
The search was called off.
“I couldn’t sleep on Wednesday night, my heart was pumping fast. I was asking myself many questions.
“On Thursday morning, we went to the river with my family and the neighbours and waited patients as the cop divers were searching for Katleho.”
She said one of the divers spent hours under the water.
“After a while, we saw the divers who were on the side of the river coming together and pulling a pipe which looked like a rope. My heart skipped a bit. The next thing I saw them pulling out my son who was wearing a blacktop.
“I screamed and called his name, trying to rush to him. My neighbours pulled me and stopped me.
“This was the worst pain in my life, watching the lifeless body of my son,” she said.
Katleho’s aunt Joyce Tsotetsi (45) was stopped by residents from throwing herself into the river.
When she saw Katleho’s body being lifted from the river, she burst into tears and ran toward the river.
She said: “He was full of life, a kid who was always smiling and a humble boy.
“It broke my heart that his dad died a few years ago. Whenever I looked at Katleho, he used to remind me of my brother.
“I’m left with unanswered questions, why he came to cross this side. He died a painful death.”
Katlehong police spokesman Captain Mega Ndobe said an inquest case has been opened.
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