Mr Smuts Mufariseni Mphaya Masotsha, the man who has gone missing. Photo supplied.

Old man Mufariseni goes missing on the mountains


Almost a week has passed since an elderly man, Mr Smuts Mufariseni Mphaya Masotsha, left home to look for cattle in the local mountains. The 82-year-old man from Tshifudi Thondoni has not returned and has not been seen since.

His disappearance has left his family and other members of the community with many unanswered questions, and fears as to what may have happened to the old man. The family reported him missing to the local chief and the police and search parties were dispatched to the local surroundings, but the old man was nowhere to be found.

Family spokesperson Mr Thinandavha Walter Mphaya, who is also the missing man’s son, said the old man had woken up last Thursday (30 May) and informed them that he was heading for the mountains to check on his cattle as he usually did.

“He was wearing a blue T-shirt and a blue work suit. We called him on his phone, and he told us he was at Tshidzini Matshimbapfene, but the phone is now off, and we have not heard from him since then. We are becoming restless, and we are in the dark as to his whereabouts. I last spoke to him on 31 May, and he indicated he was in distress.

“We suspect he encountered some problems and couldn’t make it back to the village. We tried to get in touch to find out his location, but his phone is now off, and we suspect that the battery is flat. We went to the mountains and searched everywhere, even calling his name, but there was no response. On Monday, 3 June, the police also dispatched a helicopter that searched all over, but he could not be found,” he said. Mphaya further indicated the family was fast losing hope of ever finding him alive.

“We desperately want him back, dead or alive. We doubt very much that he is still alive. Considering the number of days that have gone by, there is no hope of finding him alive. What we need now is closure, even if it is just his bones, so we can give him a proper burial. We are appealing to anyone who might have information about his disappearance to contact us,” Mphaya said.

Tshifudi, Tshaulu, and the surrounding villages are notorious for the disappearance of people. Many of those who go missing are found dead, while some are found alive. Ritual murders are rife in the area.

Vhembe SAPS spokesperson W/O Vuledzani Sathi confirmed that a missing person docket was opened and that a helicopter had been utilised, but the old man was not found.

Those with information can contact the family at 0795453472 or 0765667236.



Date:06 June 2024

By: Elmon Tshikhudo

Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019. He currently writes on a freelance basis, covering human rights issues, court news and entertainment.

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