'How do I move on without his body?' Wife speaks a year after South African kidnapped in Burkina Faso

Christo Bothma and his wife, Amanda Bothma.
Christo Bothma and his wife, Amanda Bothma.
Image: Facebook

Exactly a year since Christo Bothma was abducted in Burkina Faso while on duty, his wife, Amanda, says she's still hopeful that one day he will return home.

“It may not be today, tomorrow, next month, but one day he will return home. Only then will I believe that he’s dead or alive. Until I see his body, he is not dead,” she told TimesLIVE on Monday.

Bothma was abducted on September 23 2018.

Following the abduction, his family has been inundated with pleas to accept that the 54-year-old husband and father was no longer alive after a vehicle he last boarded was found 20km away from the Mali border.

When asked how she’s been coping, she said: “Days are not the same. On some days I sleep, on some I don’t. It's just not easy."

Amanda said since the abduction, she has kept her cellphone fully charged and switched on all the time.

“On some days I am really hopeful that I’ll receive a call that they are looking for him, he’s alive, dead or his body was found at least,” she said.

The abduction has left the family members torn apart, she says. The couple have six children aged between 20 and 30.

“It seems like two of the girls have accepted he’s no more. The boys don’t show their emotions. The last born girl is not taking it well at all because they were very close,” she said.

The abduction has strained family relations and finances.

In a bid to assist, a family friend, Retha Kelly, created the BackaBuddy campaign, which has raised just over R43,000.

Amanda said she’d realised life had to go on at some point, but she intended not to accept her husband was dead unless she saw his body.

“I want closure. We want to move on. But how do I do that without the body? It's not possible,” she said.

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