A man is fighting for his life at Deborah Retief Memorial hospital after his abusive wife set the house they were sleeping in ablaze last weekend.
As the international community observed the '16 Days of Activism on violence against women and children', Shianyana Modise's estranged wife went on rampage and attempted to burn her husband and three children including a two-month old baby, inside the house.
When describing details of the horrific incident, 39-year old Shianyana Modise told of how his habitually abusive wife, Violet, had phoned informing him that she suspected that the food in the house had been poisoned.
"I had gone to the cattle post on Friday when I received the call. She told me that she had not cooked any food as she suspected that the food had been poisoned. When I got back home she had put all food-stuffs into a large bowl and mixed with water. When I asked why she did that she started throwing her usual tantrums, insulting me and throwing stuff all over the place. She broke the furniture and other household property and I went to the police station and reported the incident. The police told us that this time the dispute was getting out of hand and they told us that the matter would be taken to court on Monday."
Modise said he was awoken by a cloud of smoke engulfing his bedroom at 3am on Saturday and that when he opened the bedroom door the living room was on fire and he suffered burns as he tried to escape.
"When I tried to open the door to get out of the house I found that it had been locked. I then went through the inferno and tried to rescue Violet and the kids but their room was also locked. I managed to break the burglar bars to my room and escaped through the window. It was only then that I managed to break the other window and rescue the kids. I was screaming for help at the same time and my brother and other neighbours came and doused the flames and we managed to get Violet out of the house."
Superintendent Simon Sitale of Mochudi Police confirmed the incident but said Violet was undergoing psychiatric examination before any charge could be considered against her.
"After the incident the affected family members who included children aged 11 years, 8 years and two months were taken to the hospital. The husband was badly burnt and he was admitted in hospital while the rest were treated for shock and were released. The woman has been admitted at Sbrana Psychiatric hospital in Lobatse for mental examination. Should the results prove that she is sane she will face a charge of attempted murder but if not she'll walk free," he said.
According to family members, Violet has always been hostile to her husband's relatives and after the marriage to Modise in 2007 she stopped all the relatives from visiting.
"We share a fence but ever since she got married to my younger brother she does not allow us into her yard but her relatives are allowed to visit any time," Modise's brother Marutle said.
Superintendent Sitale said the incident was the first of its kind in Mochudi and advised couples to settle disputes through family mechanisms and social services.