Bongeka Buso: The mother who chose death over poverty

By Anita Dangazele

Bongeka Buso, 38, saw death as the only way out of a never-ending cycle of poverty when she took the lives of her three children along with her own over the weekend.

Residents of Tholeni village in Butterworth, Eastern Cape, are still reeling with shock after the grim discovery of the bodies of Bongeka, 38, and her three children, Anathi, 14, Orabile, 8, and Oratile, 5.

Just a day after the unemployed mother received her children’s support grant, Bongeka took the devastatingdecision to end it all.

The gruesome discovery was made on Sunday morning by a woman who had gone to collect money her late mother owed her.

Family and friends said Bongeka had struggled to put food on the table.

Her uncle Mkhululi Buso, said she had been unemployed for many years and was depending on a child support grant.

“The grant was not enough to sustain herself and the children, and she often borrowed money to make ends meet,” said Mkhululi.

“But I never thought she would take her own life and that of her children.”

Bongeka’s body was found hanging, and her two younger children’s bodies, Oratile and Orabile, were found on the bed with their stomachs bloated. It is suspected they were fed rat poison.

Her eldest daughter’s body was found lying on the floor next to the bed with a knife in her neck.

Bongeka apparently left a suicide note which is said to be in the possession of the police.

Her uncle described her as a quiet person who kept her struggles to herself.

“Bongeka was a humble child. We didn’t see this coming. She didn’t say anything to anyone,” he said.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said three cases of murder and an inquest have been opened for investigation.

Social development MEC Bukiwe Fanta’s spokesperson, Busisiwe Jemsana-Mantashe, said many mothers are struggling to cope with the pressures of raising children.

“Women have reached out to the office of the MEC seeking help to give their children up for adoption or looking for temporary residence in some of our centres,” said Jemsana-Mantashe.

“The mothers are not psychologically and economically coping with the pressures of raising their children.”

She encouraged women to visit social workers for psychological support and find out the options available to them when they are under pressure or strain.

“The importance of mental health is again proving to be vital for people’s survival during these trying times,” she said.

Pictured above: Bongeka Buso and her three children

Image source: Supplied

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