FROM THE time he was six, Sifiso lived in the loving arms of his foster mother.
But soon it became obvious that he was pining for his real family.
TODAY THE BOY IS 14, AND HE IS IN THE ARMS OF HIS BIOLOGICAL FATHER!
Yesterday Mbekeni Mashinini (47), saw his son for the first time in eight years.
Mbekeni, who lives in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni told Daily Sun he never gave up on being reunited with Sifiso.
“I went to several sangomas and they gave me hope when they told me that he is still alive,” said the happy father.
Mbekeni said Sifiso’s mum, Melita Mashinini, died in 2015.
“She was ill and worried about her missing son. She worried if he had eaten or if he had a roof over his head,” he said.
“She would have been so happy to see him again and know that he was safe.”
Sifiso was only six years old when he went missing when he went with his parents in Sebokeng for a traditional ceremony in December 2008.
“I left him there after the ceremony and I was to fetch him after a few days, but then I got a call that he was missing,” said Mbekeni.
“I was told they were cleaning the house and the children were sent outside with the other kids.”
But when they called the kids, Sifiso had disappeared.
“I went to the police and reported that he was missing. We never stopped looking for him.”
What Mbekeni and Melita did not know was that Sifiso was taken in by a Good Samaritan, who raised him and sent him to school.
Maggie Ntsoele, who runs Katleho Home for Disabled Children in Evaton in the Vaal, said she took him in as her foster son and raised him with her children.
“He was a small boy and did not know anything. Then when he was a little older, we asked him if he wanted to be reunited with his family,” she said.
“He said he would love that.”
She started working with the cops to trace the boy’s family.
“I am happy he has found his family. I will miss him because we have a strong bond,” she said.
“We have promised to visit each other and stay in contact.”
Investigating officer Constable Metja Madubye, who located the family, said he went from one street corner to another in Katlehlong asking people if they knew the Mashinini family.
“One day I spoke to a group of men and they directed me to a house in the township. It happened to be the right house.”
He interviewed the family and was told they had a missing son.
Police spokesman Captain Mega Ndobe said parents should make sure that their children at least know the section where they are staying and their parents’ names.