Even if we are living in a country where at least 60 people are murdered a day or we kill with absolutely savage brutality about 20,000 people per year, the news of the brutal murder of Peter Thobejane in the evening of Sunday 12 July 2019 outside his home in Unit D in Temba, still send shock waves throughout the Temba community.
It was the sadistic echo of the riveting bullet of an unknown assassin that brought his illustrious life of 55 years old (born 7 February 1964) to an abrupt and brutal end, shattering the quiet serenity of that fateful Sunday evening forever.
Although one was out of town and not present to witness the aftermath of this senseless act of acute insanity and inhuman brutality, one can imagine the frantic reaction of the first respondents to what was to become a “murder scene”.
With the warm body of this son of the soil, lying lifeless in a pool of his own blood, as it flowed steadily into the ground – with the last ounce of life and breath slipping out of his fatally wounded body.
That scene of frantic panic, from family and friends, or neighbours and the casual passer-by, and the eerie screams and wailing of those who witness this deadly deed, and the sight and sounds of the blue lights of the forensic police, it is not a scene or pain any person want to bear witness to.
And the pain of the bullet of the assassin, not only struck the unsuspecting Peter Thobejane that night, who had just had a relaxed evening with a group of his friends at Bra Tom`s Place near his home in Unit D, Temba.
But the pain of this dastardly act is today felt by so many in his family and circle of friends, by his neighbours and larger community, by his colleagues in the business and education fraternity, and by so many learners and students – past and present – who had benefitted from his knowledge which he had acquired after years of study at Tlhabane College of Education and University of Pretoria. It is sad that in a country that is yearning for knowledge and education, that a community should be deprived of an educator with almost 30 years of teaching experience.
My life journey crossed paths with Peter Thobejane in the early eighties, both at Hans Kekana High School as well as Thlabane College of Education in Rustenburg where we both studied for a three-year Secondary Teacher`s Diploma (STD).
Although I was two years ahead of him at TCE, we were well acquainted with each other as homeboys from Temba. At the time, there were a few of us including Molifi Ramasia, Neo Matshabe and the late Shereen Dichabe who looked after each other as brothers and sisters.
And right into his teaching career at Tsebentlha Middle School and his current high school in Mandela Village, Peter Thobejane always relished and cherished the protection that I afforded him as a senior student and erstwhile President of the TCE Student Representative Council.
I will always remember with fondness the time we travelled – by train or taxi or taken to Tlhabane by our late parents.
And it is these memories of this unassuming and softness of this gentle human being, that makes one wonder what evil person could dare to plot and eliminate a person like Peter Thobejane in a well-calculated execution style?
All one could remember is his disarming smile and soft laughter executed through a twisted facial expression and a giggle that flowed from the depth of his heart. And only those who know him well would remember the DNA of his unique voice and tone – that you can still hear from your memory – even when his voice and laughter has been silenced and muzzled forever.
The narrative of the life and times of Peter Thobejane will be shared by those who knew him at his Memorial Service to be held at 12pm on Thursday 18 July 2019 at the Sebothoma Community Hall in Unit D, Temba. And a Requiem Mass will be held to bid him farewell at 7am on Saturday 20 July 2019 at the Methodist Church in Unit D at his home town of Temba in Hammanskraal.
There is no doubt that the brutal untimely death of Peter Thobejane will linger in the memory of our community long after his remains are interred in his final resting place at Mashimong Cemetery in the Majang Village.
It will time for the pain of his tragic assassination to diminish in the hearts of those who loved him dearly. Long after the priest have committed his “dust to dust and ash to ash”, his learners and colleagues who shared the hallowed grounds of his school will continue to yearn for his voice.
The mystery of his sudden death under the vale of darkness will be spoken about in whispers by mourners and many others here and after.
May your soul rest in eternal peace, my brother. You WILL be sadly missed.