never again

Reverend Maboe & his late son Hendrick ‘Billy’ Ramthodi Maboe

Reverend Maboe & his late son Hendrick ‘Billy’ Ranthopi Maboe

"Like Bishop Tutu"

Reverend Joseph Maboe loves this photograph of Billy. He recalls: "He was so handsome and cheerful. When I visited, he always said 'papa you have come' and laughed and hugged me."

Hendrick ‘Billy’ Ranthopi Maboe had been diagnosed with epilepsy 20 years ago and stayed at Life Esidimeni Randfontien where he received good treatment. Billy was proud that his father was a priest. “He was also saying to me Papa you must behave very well, you must be like Bishop Tutu,” Joseph smiles.

In May 2016 Joseph went to visit Billy at Life Esidimeni. When he arrived, he saw two trucks at the gate and patients being taken away led by nurses. "They were like ghosts or sheep going to an auction. Some were crying. Others were running helter-skelter." Joseph asked what was happening and someone said, they are going away. Billy was still there. Joseph took him food and he was very happy. But when Joseph went back at the beginning of June, Billy was gone. The place was under renovation and the security guard couldn't tell him where Billy was.

A month and a half later, Joseph tracked Billy down to Bophelong Suurman in Hammanskraal nearly two hours away from where he lives. Joseph was shocked when he saw his son. Billy was shivering and hungry. Joseph wanted to take Billy to a hospital straight away, but the NGO said he had to wait for a doctor's permission. Billy died six days later. "Thank God I found him and could bury him in a decent way. But the pain is still there."