Gospel star loses 200 of his flock

Gun­men held par­ents to steal valu­able live­stock

Sunday World - - Sunday Report - By Siyabonga Kam­nqa

Award-win­ning gospel mu­si­cian Butho Vuthela is a bro­ken man af­ter be­com­ing the lat­est vic­tim of stock theft in the East­ern Cape.

The Phosani Um­natha hit­maker lost nearly 200 of his Dor­per sheep af­ter an armed gang stormed his Mount Fletcher far­mand held­his par­ents at gun­point.

Dor­per sheep are highly cov­eted for their meat qual­ity and high fer­til­ity rate as they can pro­duce lambs up to three times in twoyears un­der ex­cel­lent con­di­tions.

The 200 sheep which he started buyin­gin 2010when he bought his first batch of 40, cost anes­ti­mat­edR500 000.

Speak­ing to Sun­day World, Vuthela said the in­ci­dent hit him hard in the pocket but he was grate­ful his par­ents were un­harmed.

“My par­ents have been left trau­ma­tised by the in­ci­dent. I am just thank­ful the rob­bers didn’t harm them,” he said.

Vuthela said he ven­tured into farm­ing on re­al­is­ing that artists were not earn­ing enough from record sales be­cause of piracy.

“Through sell­ing some of these sheep I was able to sup­port my fam­ily. As artists we don’t make­much money these days. Now I don’t know how I am go­ing to sur­vive. I just hope the po­lice can solve this stock- theft prob­lem be­cause­most ru­ral folks sup­port their fam­i­lies through farm­ing cat­tle and sheep.”

He sus­pects that the thieves went for his stock be­cause they saw his el­derly par­ents as easy tar­gets for them.

“I stay in East Lon­don and I am al­ways on the road be­cause of my hec­tic sched­ule as an artist. I only visit the farm when time per­mits.”

He said he was con­sid­er­ing quit­ting farm­ing.

“If it means that my par­ents’ lives are at risk then I might as well quit. My fam­ily comes first. Who knows what might hap­pen to them next time?”

This was not the first time that Vuthela be­came a stock­theft vic­tim. The thieves first struck in July last year.

He said though his sheep were branded, he was not hope­ful of a break­through by the po­lice.

“Some farm­ers in our vil­lage have in­the past also lost their stock and it was never re­cov­ered,” he said.

“But we are hop­ing for a mir­a­cle.”

Po­lice spokesman Cap­tain Raphael Mot­loung con­firmed that a case of stock theft had been opened.

/Sup­plied

Thieves have stolen 200 sheep be­long­ing to gospel artist Butho Vuthela.

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