#missingkids | Kimberley woman meets missing daughter’s lookalike

The mother
of a Kimberley girl who went missing nine years ago talks about what happened
when she met a woman who looks just like her missing daughter.

The grief
over her only daughter’s disappearance on 21 February 2010 drove Mpho
Moshoeshoe (53), a teaching specialist from Kimberley, into a spiral of
depression and addiction.

At night,
she’d sit in front of the TV, unable to sleep. She felt the sleeping tablets
she was taking were the only thing keeping her sane. Though a man who might have
had something to do with the kidnapping was eventually arrested, she didn’t
have answers and kept believing her daughter, Rehana Kwena Moshoeshoe (then
15), was still live.

Then came a
call two months ago. Someone had met a homeless young woman in the Pretoria CBD
who looked exactly like Rehana.

The
well-spoken homeless woman had made an impact on this person and she remembered
her again when, not long after their meeting on the streets, she coincidentally
saw a pamphlet for the missing Rehana which had recently been distributed again
on social media. This woman was struck by the resemblance between the two young
women and managed to contact an old school friend of Rehana’s from Kimberley
Girls’ High School.

This friend
got in touch with Mpho who informed her about the woman’s chance meeting with a
girl who looked just like her long-lost daughter.

Mpho didn’t
waste a moment and in August she met, Candice Modisenyana (22), who’s known on
the streets as Karabo.

“The
resemblance was overwhelming – almost every feature: the eyes, the high
forehead. I couldn’t stop staring at her. But I didn’t want to get too excited.
I asked her, ‘Do you know me? Where are you from’?”

At the time
of Rehana’s disappearance, Frans Olifant (then 38), was arrested in
Lichtenburg. There had been text messages between him and Rehana on his phone
that he couldn’t explain. He was found guilty and sentenced to 36 years in prison
for kidnapping, as well as other crimes including rape, arson and theft.

Rehana’s
body was never found and Mpho went to see Olifant in prison but got no closer
to the truth.

The young
woman Mpho met in Pretoria looked exactly like Rehana, but the mom soon
realised she didn’t sound like her. Karabo’s voice was much deeper, and her
background far removed from the Northern Cape.

“No, she
didn’t recognise me. She told me she’s from Klerksdorp, that she’s adopted . .
.”

Mpho and
Rehana’s brother, Hussein (28), returned home without their Rehana.

“I had so
much hope when we drove there,” Hussein says. “I believed when we drove home,
Rehana would be with us. But we lost Rehana, then found her and lost her all
over again.”

Mpho and Hussein Moshoeshoe

Two weeks
after Mpho met Candice (Karabo), Mpho found out Candice had also appeared on
the well-known Afrikaans magazine programme Kwêla
when they visited the homeless in Pretoria earlier this year. In this insert,
which was posted on YouTube in May, one can again see the uncanny resemblance. Karabo
is seen telling Kwêla in fluent Afrikaans she was an adopted child who grew up
with a white couple. But after the couple divorced, she eventually ended up on
the streets.

Pictures of
Karabo as a teenager also surfaced that seem to disprove that her and Rehana
are the same person.

Still,
though they doubt the young woman is Rehana, Mpho hasn’t given up all hope. The
only thing that can provide a definitive answer is the results of a DNA test –
for which they could wait weeks or even months.

“I’m trying
to stay calm. I don’t want to get depressed again. I’m ready for everything and
anything, no matter the outcome [of the tests],” Mpho says.

On the
morning she disappeared, Rehana had left home to go to town. She’d wanted to
buy an outfit to wear to the Lira concert she had tickets for the following
week. But her family never saw her again.

“I just
want my daughter back. It doesn’t matter where she is or what happened – we’ll
get her back on the right path,” Mpho says. “Sometimes when I pray, I tell God,
‘It’s too dark. Please let there be light’.”

Not a day
goes by that the family doesn’t miss Rehana. “She was a bubbly person. She was
good with people and easy-going – a lot like Karabo.”


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