- Family suffered ordeal of missing son for 29 years

In a story that is almost identical to USA television show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition series, a local company, KED Interiors and Partners are preparing to transform the Sedupenyane family home in Selokolela.

The home belongs to 82-year-old Keboletse Sedupenyane, who for almost 29 years, has been waiting in limbo to make sense of what happened to her beloved son, James Sedupenyane. Torn by the pain of not knowing what befell their son, the family has been battling an ocean of emotions.

Private James Sedupenyane was last seen by his family on May 5th 1993. This May will officially mark 29 years since that fateful day when he bid farewell to his family, on his way back to work to extend his leave days in order to attend the funeral of his aunt.

Emotionally devastated, his mother believes that if one day James walks in through the gates, she would not recognise him. Like in the original Extreme Makeover TV show, where the host, Ty Pennington works with a team of designers and volunteers to transform homes of families in need, Kevin Saseng, Managing Director of KED Interiors, is going all out for the family.

Saseng has been looking around for a project in the form of a family where he can use his expertise as an innovative Interior Designer, and liven up their home. When he heard about the plight of the Sedupenyane family, he did not hesitate and jumped at the opportunity to refurbish their family home.

WITHOUT A TRACE: It is 29 years since James Sedupenyane disappeared
WITHOUT A TRACE: It is 29 years since James Sedupenyane disappeared

He has been working around the clock to see how best he can breathe new life into the house. As an interior designer, his job is to transform spaces, and bring out new features that make the space stand out.

Currently, the house is not in a good state especially for a pensioner. Whenever it rains they shudder at the thought of what could happen. What used to be the kitchen is a non-functional room that literally turns into a small dam when it rains.

They have since moved their food supplies into the two bedrooms. It does not have a proper door, and is missing a window. The other rooms also present their own challenges. Almost all the rooms in the four bed-roomed house have roof leakage issues, which need to be attended to immediately.

“I have been really moved by the story of the family, and I want to do my best to put a smile on their faces. The overall look of the house is inspired by their story,” he told this publication.

Saseng wants to create a house with a totally new atmosphere and feel. He hopes to brighten up their mood, and see them smile and forget about the trials they have endured over the years.

“I want a house that is filled with love, and I want it to be a place filled with happiness,” he explains, adding that he will give the house character, and include exciting features.

“For this house we are not going for something normal, the transformation is going to be mind-blowing,” Saseng says in the interview.

His first call is to deal with the leaking roof. Other key features will include ceilings, fitting the kitchens and bedrooms, tilling, lights, painting and bathroom works. They have set a period of two weeks to complete the project.

Meanwhile, Saseng would have loved to connect water and electricity for the family, but is unable to do so due to financial constraints.

Other developments that need attention include building a pit latrine, as the one they have was built in the 90’s and is no longer in use, as well as erecting a jojo tank for water storage in the event of water shortage in the area. Area Member of Parliament, Dr Lemogang Kwape, who doubles as Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, says he is passionate about projects of this nature and from time to time assists those in need in his constituency of Kanye South.

To date, he has constructed homes for about five families, and continues to assist others. For the Sedupenyane family, Kwape is keen to see how he can assist the family to get a better house.

"This is a cause that is close to my heart. I wish to encourage others to help those in need anywhere that they can,” he said.

Family spokesperson, Benjamin Sedupenyane said, "We are elated and really excited that there are people who wish to wipe away our tears. This transformation will bring comfort to us and our mother.”