On Thursday June 8th, Banele and two of his siblings opened the newspaper to find an article about a woman named Melinda from Germany. But this article also contained another name: Alpheus Mpikeleli Kubeka – their brother. In 1977, their brother left South Africa for exile during the Apartheid regime. Alpheus’ family never heard from him again. His parents spent their lives looking for him, but were told that he was dead. Like so many others during the Apartheid era, Alpheus had disappeared.
Now, forty years later his siblings found themselves reading an article about a 20-year old woman in Germany who was searching for her father’s family in South Africa. Although Alpheus passed away fifteen years ago, when Melinda was young, she had always wanted to know her South African family. Her father had tried to return to South Africa to get back in contact with his family, but experienced resistance from both the South African and German embassy. She felt that she could not wait any longer, so she went out on a limb, and posted on Facebook, asking social media to help her find her family.
It worked. After the newspaper article was published, Banele began to search for Melinda, the daughter of his brother. He finally reached her through social media, and they have spoken almost every day since. Banele and his siblings desperately want to meet Melinda and her family. Another force driving their need to get to the country is to visit their brother’s grave. Although their parents died without ever knowing what happened to their son, if Banele and his siblings could go to the grave they could finally bring closure to their parent’s painstaking search for their brother. When talking about reuniting with Melinda and the rest of his brother’s children, Banele explained, “We’ve been through a lot, and we need to be there for each other now.”
Melinda, Banele, and the other siblings want nothing more than to meet each other. It is time for this family to heal, alongside each other. Unfortunately, Banele and his siblings do not have the financial means to fly to Germany on their own. The Kubeka family needs your help. Khulumani Support Group has started a funding page to help raise the money for Banele and his siblings to get to Germany so they can finally meet Melinda, see their brother’s grave, and get the closure they deserve.
Please consider donating to support the Kubeka family by clicking here.