25-year-old Kemo Matibini received 20 lashes to his bare buttocks from Jamataka Customary Court on Thursday 10th September.
He spent the next 12 days at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital nursing his badly bruised, swollen behind.
Speaking to The Voice from his hospital bed prior to his release, the Jamataka youth explained he was whipped for insulting his girlfriend and other villagers.
It is a week after his thrashing but Matibini still winces in pain as he narrates his tale.
The wounded herdboy claims his woes started on Wednesday (9 September) evening when a policeman spotted him hitch-hiking by the roadside.
“The officer told me to report to the Customary Court the next day. I had just walked seven kilometers from the cattlepost to the tarred road, hoping to get a lift into the village when this officer saw me. He was not even looking for me, we just crossed paths!”
Obeying the cop’s instructions, Matibini says he duly turned up at the kgotla the following morning and was immediately handcuffed on arrival.
“I was accused of harassing my girlfriend, Kedisaletse Kemotse, and for insulting her and some people in the village. There were four charges altogether.”
Although he did not mention it, The Voice later found out that the fourth charge was for stealing guinea fowl, a crime for which he received four of the 20 strokes, as well as a P750 fine and three months extra-mural service.
According to Matibini, his trial lasted less than half-anhour.
He was quickly found guilty by Kgosi Mosalagae of Jamataka and Shephard Pelaelo of Natale and sentenced to four strokes for each charge.
“The charges were ludicrous. But what followed was even worse!” complains Matibini, revealing Kgosi Mosalagae ordered he receive all 20 lashes on the same day.
“Two passersby were called in to whip me, taking turns to lash me 10 times.”
Claiming the actual whipping did not hurt that much – a statement which is hard to believe considering the sorry state of his still red raw bum – Matibini says he was more upset by the ‘inhumane treatment’ he received from the village leadership.
“I don’t believe anybody has ever received such treatment. I was treated like an outcast. Like I didn’t belong in the village by people I know and respect,” he told The Voice, a look of misery clouding his dark features.
The young man says, ‘with blood trickling down his thigh and his bottom on fire,’ three more villagers were called to complete the punishment.
“I think about five people took turns to whip me. Everyone wanted a piece! For the next three days, I had to lie on my stomach at Nyangabgwe. I could not sit!”
With his bottom bloodied, his pride bruised and his relationship with Kemotse over, Matibini says he just wants to forget the ordeal and move on with his life.
Meanwhile, Kgosi Mosalagae proved elusive when The Voice contacted him.
Despite the Chief repeatedly maintaining he was on his way to Francistown and would give his side of the story verbally, he never showed up.
“I’ll come to your office so that when you write you state exactly what transpired,” promised the traditional leader. It was a promise he failed to keep.