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Boy’s last words to mother bring comfort

Six-year-old was excited as he left home for school before drowning in flash flood-swollen river

“I love you very much mom. I will always love you mom. You are my shining star, the best mom ever,” said an excited and happy little Masixole Moleeko, 6, as he kissed, hugged and bid his mother Mercy Moleeko goodbye on Wednesday.
The Grade 1 Popopo Junior Secondary School boy drowned in a flash flood with four other children on Wednesday. One child is still missing.
Late on Friday the body of Boitumelo Lebenya, 5, was found by her father, Motiisetsi Lebenya, trapped underneath logs and debris on the river banks of Mgxojeni River about a kilometre from where she was swept away. He was searching the area with three villagers and his three dogs.
He said: “After police left after 1pm [on Friday] something inside told me that I must go again and find her.
“ I was looking under every log and when I knelt down I saw a foot and I quickly identified that it is that of my daughter, Boitumelo.
“I sat down and cried and thanked God that I found her body. She was still wearing a school skirt. The place is exactly where police and the villagers searched on Thursday. Oh, what a relief! I am happy that we found her and we will bury her with dignity," said the father about his second born.
A group of 17 children aged six to eight were caught in the middle of the Mgxojeni River on their return from school to Freystata village. Eleven were saved by villagers.
Police searched downstream, and after three days called off the search.
Masixole’s words are still vivid in the mind of his grieving mother, 45, who said her son “was as happy that morning as if he had received Christmas presents”.
“That excitement, the high spirits, the kisses and the words he said are giving me hope and consoling me that my son is happy wherever he is, and definitely he is with God. Every time I close my eyes I see that happiness, that smile. But I miss him dearly,'' said Moleeko with tears rolling down her cheeks, at times smiling as she stroked the photo of her son.
He was the last born of her five children.
“Masixole was born on November 2 2012. I was only two months pregnant when his father died.
“So I was everything to him, a mother and father. His dream was to be a medical doctor to ensure that no more people died, robbing children of fathers, according to him,” said his mother.
She said Masixole was like a mother to all the children in the group as they were all members of her cultural groups where she was installing a sense of self-confidence, and nurturing talents in dancing acting, singing, and poetry.
She said her heart went out to the grieving families of the drowned and missing children. They were all like my own children, my friends and my baby brothers and sisters.”
One of the surviving children was interviewed by the Dispatch.
He managed to prevent a number of children from being washed away but was unable to save one of them.
“I was very scared. He held onto my hand and unfortunately slipped off. I watched helplessly and he was swept away. My heart is sore.”
Grandparent Nolast Ntsimbi was waiting to find out what happened to her granddaughter who was missing.
Ntsimbi's granddaughter Elomso, 7, was in Grade 2.
Police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni said on Friday that no more bodies had been found.
School principal Karabo Hantsi said it was raining heavily again on Friday, forcing a halt to the search.
Education MEC Mlungisi Mvoko, premier Phumulo Masualle and the ANC in the Eastern Cape sent messages of condolences to the bereaved families...

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