It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes. But in the tragic case of Orderick Lucas, the village was responsible for his death.
Yes, his family, friends and his community. All of them.
The body of the one-year-old was found dumped in a drain in Kleinvlei after he’d disappeared for a whole week in March 2019.
He’d been killed – the cause of death has not yet been revealed.
And his mother's friend, Melvin Volwyn, is currently on trial for his murder.
But even before his death, the writing was on the wall for the toddler.
The High Court case has uncovered shocking, sickening details of abuse and neglect suffered during his short life, growing up in a dysfunctional family and unhealthy living circumstances.
This week the court heard Orderick had various illnesses including pneumonia, septic sores on his head and nose, ulcers on his genitals and anus, and that he suffered malnutrition and weight loss.
He’d been removed from his mother’s care and placed with his grandmother after he suffered a broken arm three months prior to his death.
His mother Davedine and Melvin were drug buddies who smoked tik and mandrax together.
The mother of four admitted in court that she would blow mandrax smoke in his face to help him sleep.
He would be “lastig” when she was busy.
Davedine said her mother demanded R400 each Sunday to look after three of her children and often argued with her and the kids’ father when they did not pay the full amount.
Last August, she gave birth to her fifth child, who was also removed by social workers.
Orderick’s dad, by his own admission in court, was largely an absent father.
Doukoumancia Kounkou Dziendelet said he works six days a week and was unaware of his partner’s drug habits, or of his son’s various illnesses and injuries. Strange.
But what both the dad and mom acknowledge, and are adamant about, is that Volkwyn was the last person to look after Orderick.
On that day, Davedine had been moered by community members for allegedly stealing a cellphone.
When she returned from hospital, she claimed Melvin assured her: “Jou kind is veilig by jou ma se huis.”
The dad said that he was at home, waiting for Davedine and Orderick, and testified: “I asked him (Volkwyn) where is Orderick, and he said by his house and then he left.”
Volkwyn denies this and claims he gave the boy back to his mother.
So who do we believe? We’ll have to wait and see what the court decides.
It’s a disturbing case.
Yes, someone is guilty of ultimately causing the death of this innocent child.
But murder is not the only crime here.
Everyone responsible for raising and caring for Orderick – and failed to do so – is at fault.
Everyone who abused and neglected this poor kid should be prosecuted.
Family, friends and community members who witnessed the abuse and neglect and did nothing about it must also share in the blame.
Every one of you failed Orderick.