Soweto youngster hailed after dying while protecting his nephew
By Mothusi Masemola | 2017-07-11 08:39:45.0
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A 21-year-old Soweto youngster has been hailed as a hero after he took a bullet for his nephew when they were caught in a dramatic shooting in Meadowlands on Sunday.
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Mokgethi Moroke died after he was shot in the back during a wild shootout believed to be related to taxi violence in the township.
Moroke and his 11-year-old nephew Kgopotso were caught in the shooting when gunmen who were allegedly after another man fired shots in the streets.
Moroke’s family has been left distraught by the incident and his death.
Police have not ruled out that the shooting was related to taxi violence.
“The suspects are believed to have been after one man‚ but a young man was caught in (between) which resulted in both of them dead‚” said police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele.
Kgakgamatso Modikwe‚ an eyewitness and owner of a car wash on Modise Street‚ recalled the shooting.
“After closing the car wash last night (Sunday) I went to get airtime. As I crossed the street‚ I heard three gun shots that stopped me in my tracks and I hid. After that I heard more shots and (as I) peeped at what was happening‚ there was a man being shot around the same time a young man [Mokgethi Moroke] was walking in the street with a little boy‚” Modikwe said.
“As he tried to cover the boy from the (hail of) bullets he got shot in his back. After I heard the gun shots had ceased‚ I saw three men in black suits with guns jumping inside a black Polo with no number plates.”
Moroke’s sister‚ Lerato‚ said he and her 11-year-old son had gone to buy airtime and potatoes.
“I was going to Zone 3 [Meadowlands]‚ so I asked them to walk me and maybe they could find potatoes there. The places were closed and we parted ways. I remember sternly saying to him‚ ‘Hold my son and look after him when you cross the street.’
“After leaving them‚ I heard gun shots and I ran back to see if they were okay … I screamed when I saw Mokgethi lying down. I was also worried about my son‚ but he later told me he had gone home after his uncle had told him to run and tell the family that he has been shot.
“The neighbours told me he did not die immediately‚ they said they tried to help him‚” Lerato said.
Moroke’s mother‚ Mamotebang (57)‚ said her son’s death felt like a bad dream.
“We lost his brother after he fell in a hole that was dug by the municipality. Mokgethi said I must not cry he will look after me. Now he’s gone‚” Mamotebang said.
The family‚ from Lesotho‚ lives in a one-roomed backyard shack and is worried about funeral costs.
“Our home is in Lesotho and no one is employed and burying him there will be expensive. We just do not have the funds‚” Lerato said.
Moroke’s friends described him as someone who was jocular‚ a hard worker and wanted to own a pig farm.
A school and neighbourhood friend Bhekizitha Nyele said Moroke always had his backpack on him because he did not want to lose anything.
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