Twenty-one-year-old Rendani Chauke from Dopeni was shot and killed at his home by an intruder on 17 November. Photo supplied.
The Chauke family from Dopeni village, Nzhelele, is grappling with unanswered questions after one of their sons was killed on Friday, 17 November, when a man randomly showed up at their home and started shooting at them.
According to the family spokesperson, Mr Eddie Mukoma, the deceased, 21-year-old Rendani Chauke, was sitting outside in the yard with his twin brother and other close relatives when the suspect arrived at their house, with a visible gun on his waist.
“At first, two boys (known to the family) showed up and stood next to the wall. After a while, the suspect (who seemed to be with the two boys) arrived and started asking silly questions, like is this a tavern? The people sitting there, who were all drinking alcohol, told him no, this is not a tavern. The man then started to insult them, and when they tried to chase him away, he started firing his gun, and they ran into the house. Once the gunshots stopped, they went outside again and found Rendani dead on the ground.”
Mukoma said that the family members were struggling to cope with the situation. “He was still so young. His mother is in serious pain; the whole family is heartbroken. Rendani was a hardworking boy, full of life and love. Why would someone just come to your house and start shooting? What did we do to deserve this? I pray that the police catch the suspect because he is known.”
Vhembe police spokesperson W/O Vuledzani Dathi stated that the police had arrested two suspects in connection with the incident, but they had been released. “The case was not placed on the court roll. The suspect is known and still at large, but he will be arrested as the police are busy investigating the case,” said Dathi.
Dopeni SANCO secretary Mr Richard Mukhaninga said that the community was still in shock over what had happened. “It is very painful to see young people kill each other. As a community, we are trying our level best to stop crime in this area, but it seems that the harder we try, the more people engage in criminal activities.”
Mukhaninga is calling on religious people to come and pray for Dopeni village before the festive season begins. Meanwhile, the police are urging anyone with information on the whereabouts of the said suspect to contact the investigating officer, Sgt Collen Sinyosi, on 082-0580064. Rendani was buried at his home village on Saturday, 25 November.
Date:01 December 2023
Maanda Bele, born and raised in Nzhelele Siloam, studied journalism at the Tshwane University of Technology.
He is passionate about current news and international affairs.
He worked as part of the Zoutnet team as an intern in 2017.
He is currently a freelance journalist specialising in news from the Vhembe district.