Investigative Podcast

PODCAST | Justice for Kopano: What happened to Kopano?

An investigation into the unsolved case of a 10-year-old hit-and-run victim who was then abducted and died alone, far from her home

02 February 2021 - 09:57 By ALEX PATRICK and Paige Muller
A memorial service at Durban Deep Primary School honoured 10-year-old Kopano Molelekedi. The image on the candle is of Kopano's graduation to Grade 5 at the school and it is one of the last photos taken of the little girl.
A memorial service at Durban Deep Primary School honoured 10-year-old Kopano Molelekedi. The image on the candle is of Kopano's graduation to Grade 5 at the school and it is one of the last photos taken of the little girl.
Image: Sinenhlanhla Ngubane

After Kopano Molelekedi went missing on September 6 2018, her stepfather Izaac Moiloa went to her school at Durban Deep Primary where Kopano was a grade 5 pupil, but the school said she never showed up.

After her little body was found in a morgue the primary school held a memorial for her two weeks later.

LISTEN | Episode 2: What happened to Kopano? 

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Mother Orapaleng Molelekedi and Moiloa had not slept and had barely eaten since the incident.

Orapeleng Molelekedi, mother of Kopano, and stepdad Izaac Moiloa at her memorial service. Both were too shattered to speak to the reporter.
Orapeleng Molelekedi, mother of Kopano, and stepdad Izaac Moiloa at her memorial service. Both were too shattered to speak to the reporter.
Image: Sinenhlanhla Ngubane

Kopano’s foundation phase teacher, Memory Madigoe, spoke about the child she watched grow up.

“We are worried about our little girls. What kind of a world are we living in? Her class was distraught when they heard what had happened; they are old enough to know that what happened to her can happen to them. They feel unsafe.

“We live in such a difficult world here [Durban Deep] and you could see in her eyes that her education meant a different life for her than the life of her parents. She had potential,” Madigoe said.

Kopano’s teacher, Lilly Mokgara, said the class of 5B were shattered when they heard the news.

“The class was chaotic, everyone was crying. It was hard for me because I need to be strong, but I had to keep leaving to cry. I just couldn’t help them and I couldn’t stand to see them in so much pain.”

After this the family seemed to have disappeared until one evening in January 2020 when Orapaleng called Sunday Times reporter Alex Patrick.

Follow the movements on that fateful morning on the map below and understand better why this case just doesn't add up, and how a crime with so many witnesses still goes unpunished.

Mapping the unsolved hit-and-run of Kopano Molelekedi which occured on September 5 2018.

This five-part investigative series is a collaboration between the Sunday Times and MultimediaLIVE following a two-year investigation that remains unresolved.