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‘Enough is enough’

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Friend recalls fateful night and last moments

Pictures: Soraya Crowie

“ENOUGH is enough. It is time for the community to stand together and ensure that we don’t stand in front of a child’s coffin again. We need to take this battle on and not wait till it’s your child. Let this be the end of it.”

These were the words of the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, at the funeral service of Tshepiso Thompson on Saturday.

The 16-year-old Kimberley Boys’ High pupil was robbed of his clothes and sneakers and stabbed to death in the early hours of March 31.

It is believed that he and his friend, Tau Motaung, were attacked on their way home from a party in Hulana Street in Galeshewe.

“How many more must die at the hands of these gangsters who are just after drugs and money. How many more? It’s time we stand up for our young children. We need to do whatever it takes to rid the streets of these skollies and tsotsis. Why don’t they work? Why do they have to rob and kill our children? Enough is enough. We need to stand up and take the fight to the street. We can’t have our children growing up in glass castles because of the tsotsis. Galeshewe, stand up and protect our young children,” Bartlett said.

She said that the community must also pray about the situation, but added that prayer without action is no good. “In the Bible it says, God helps those who help themselves.”

Tshepiso was remembered at the funeral by his friends, his school principal, his sport coaches and his family.

“Tshepiso was like any other teenager. He was not an angel but he was polite and respectful,” Kimberley Boys’ High principal Graham Steele said.

“He was the same child at school as he was at home. If he got into trouble and ended up in my office, he didn’t run from the issue. He stood up and admitted to his wrongdoing. This is how I will remember him,” Steele added.

Tshepiso was a budding rugby player and also enjoyed soccer.

As one of his school friends reminisced, he said that Tshepiso always used to say that he was built like his father and that was why he was the perfect candidate to play rugby.

Tshepiso’s rugby coach at Kimberley Boys’ High remembered him always smiling and motivating the others. “We have lost a great player who was always smiling and happy. Nothing got him down.”

One of Tshepiso’s friends recalled how they became friends. “It was at Beacon Primary. I remember him hopping towards me and he asked me what I had to eat for him. He was sitting at the back of the class then and I was in front. It later ended up that we both sat in the front together. We had so much fun and we moved together to Kimberley Boys’ High.”

The friend also recalled many school trips the boys had gone on as well as the school camp they attended together.

“He was really a true friend right until the end. I will always remember him and miss him.”

Tshepiso’s mother, Gracia, said that she had gone through a lot of hardship to give her son a better life.

In her eulogy she said that she became pregnant with Tshepiso at a very young age and when her friends went off to university and college, she had to find a job. When she managed to secure full-time employment, she went on to get a diploma as well a degree.

“I did this so that we could have a better life and you could look up to me,” she said.

Tributes also came in from Tshepiso’s block leader, his Sunday School teacher, his church leader and others.

Three men, between the ages of 25 and 29 years old, were arrested and appeared in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court last week in connection with the murder .

A group of minors, who are suspected to be gang members, were taken in for questioning but were released from custody earlier last week as they could not be linked to the crime.

Tshepiso’s death sparked a massive outcry from the community over increasing acts of gangsterism, where youths are being killed and robbed of their belongings on a weekly basis.

Grade 12 pupil Boniface Ndlovu was also fatally stabbed after he was robbed of his matric dance shoes last month.