Gentle Italian slain on South African farm

Gentle Italian slain on South African farm

His name was not reported by SA media.

Not anywhere.

But Raffaelle Mastrogiuseppe was a beloved father, grandfather, farmer, engineer, employer.

Foreword by Daniel Sutherland :

This was how Raffaelle Mastrogiuseppe’s murder was tweeted by Ian Cameron of Afriforum :

" FARM MURDER: Heidelberg, Gauteng. One male victim around 69 yrs old attacked by 5 attackers who shot and killed him. Seems that 2 suspects have already been arrested with some stolen items and firearms. 3 suspects still at large. "

As someone who follow farm murders and attacks I immediately started to search South African media news websites to get more details.

I wanted to know who he was.

Surely he had a name.

Surely it was necessary to report his name ?

Surely he was not just another statistic.

Surely his murder and life story was worth being told ?

Mainstream media predictably had nothing !

I saw the murder reported on Maroela Media and Netwerk24.

Still no name reported.

I kept wondering who was this man.

Then I saw the FB posts by his son Paolo, his niece Paola and other family members.

Here follows an account of the life and murder of Raffaelle Mastrogiuseppe.

As told by Paola Mastrogiuseppe, his neice :

My Uncle’s name was Raffaele Mastrogiuseppe, we called him Zio as it means Uncle in Italian.

My uncle immigrated from Italy at the age of 19 and for the last 50 years worked as an engineer and farmer.

He bought his 150 hectares of land in Heidelberg in 1990 where he farmed cattle, mielies and fodder.

He later built an engineering plant on his land.

He had 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls.

For 50 years he created an economy for South Africa paying tax and feeding millions through working the farmlands and creating industry.

He was one of the most hardworking people I have ever known and gave his all in everything he did.

He helped so many people in his life as his heart was made of gold which included each and every one of his employees that crossed his path.

Every employee of his would leave more enriched in their knowledge and in their own lives as my uncle would help anyone in need even if it meant he would go without.

He lived on his farm alone as he had been divorced and his children had all gone their own way.

On the night of October 2nd, being the hard worker that he was, my uncle left his engineering plant located on the farm at 9.15pm after working on a machine.

He walked home as his farmhouse was only 500 metres away.

When he got inside he made himself a light dinner and then walked to the kitchen where he started making himself a cup of tea.

By this time we estimate that the incident took place between 10pm/10.30pm.

This is when he was shot through the window in the stomach, he then ran towards the stairs as the perpetrators broke in and continued to shoot him in the back.

He was completely ambushed and did not make it into his bedroom.

The final shot was to the head where they made sure they finished the job. 

6 bullet casings were found at the scene and my uncle took the 4 shots.

While my uncle’s body lay there, the 5 or 6 perpetrators ransacked the house taking with them some boerewors and beer.

They then tried to take a safe as well as two firearms.

They packed his car and tried to get away.

They were not able to exit the premises through the gate and got stuck in a ditch where they then called for two get away vehicles.

At this time the security at the weight bridge near the farm noticed this suspicious activity and alerted the police.

Once the police arrived at the scene, the getaway cars sped off, leaving one of the suspects behind.

He was arrested on scene.

Police then gave chase to the other vehicles where they were able to catch another perpetrator in the nearby township of Ratanda.

Both suspects are currently being held in custody and are both Zimbabwean.