Six months after her 10-month-old baby died, allegedly while being fed at creche, Mpho Mokoena has not moved the child’s belongings from where she kept them
Remoratile’s pictures, toys and essentials are the first items one sees when entering Mokoena’s rented room in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg.
On the refrigerator is the child’s picture with a note written by her mother.
It reads: “I will always love you my babe girl. RIP # miss u .”
Mokoena told Sowetan that her daughter died a few minutes after she left her at a local creche to have lunch as she struggled to feed her.
“I didn’t go to work that day. I spent the morning with her, fed her porridge and breastfed her. We watched TV and played together. She started crawling for the first time that morning, she was happy and healthy,” she said.
Mokoena later made Remoratile lunch but she refused to eat.
She then bathed her, dressed her in a pretty dress and hair bands and took her to creche to be fed.
A woman at the creche told her she had a strategy but did not want Mokoena around.
When Mokoena returned she was told Remoratile was at a sangoma’s house and was unwell.
“I was horrified when I found my child on the floor covered with a towel. She was naked. The sangoma told me she was sorry. I didn’t ask questions,” Mokoena said.
She picked up Remoratile and ran out to look for transport to the clinic.
“Her eyes were closed,” she said.
Mokoena then asked the caregiver what had happened.
“She said she gave her only one spoon of mashed potatoes and she became unresponsive. I believe she was forcing her to eat and blocked her nose. Nurses gave her oxygen but it was too late,” said the distraught mother, who feels like her heart has been ripped out.
“I tried to wake her up. I slept with her until she turned cold. There was food coming out of her nose, I wiped her until it stopped. I couldn’t believe it. I’m hurting, I need help,” she said.
Mokoena said she still does not know the cause of her child’s death.
“Police aren’t saying anything. The death certificate says the cause [of death] is still under investigation. I cry every day. Sometimes I think about killing myself.
” Had I known that I was taking her to her death, I would have stayed with her,” she said.
Mokoena’s mother Maria Dhlomo said: “There’s nothing as painful as watching your child cry every day. We’re hurting”.
Police spokesman Captain Abraham Thobejane said they were investigating a murder case.
“According to the standing orders, the victim must be briefed regularly. We’ll follow up with the investigating officer to find out what happened,” he said.