While some like to believe heroes come in all shapes and sizes, 12-year-old Asanda Radebe proved this when he kept his two younger sisters safe during a robbery while his mom was out buying diapers.
Thato Radebe was at home with her three children, Asanda, 12, Amahle, 5, and an eight-month-old baby girl when she decided to head out to the store to buy some diapers. When the children wanted to go with her, Thato said she’d only be a few minutes and they could wait at home, she told Roodepoort Northsider.
Little did Thato know how things would change in the space of a few minutes. Asanda was watching TV when he heard a noise at the gate outside. “He looked outside and saw three men he didn’t recognise and triggered the alarm, thinking it would scare them off, and then went straight to his sisters,” said Thato.
Asanda then hid his eight-month old sister in the cupboard and told his five year-old sister Amahle, who thought he was joking at first, that they were being robbed and that she must stay still and quiet and do what the robbers say.
By this time, Thato had called Honeydew CPF’s Jon Rosenberg, who, along with Hanlee Fourie, responded immediately and was on scene in a matter of minutes.
When they reached the house, the robbers had left and they found the children alone at home. Luckily, the perpetrators were only able to make off with the TV. The Radebes live at the end of Rooisering Street, right at the cul-de-sac and Jon thinks it’s possible the robbers could’ve been waiting for Thato to leave and then took a chance.
“The robbery was probably opportunistic and not planned,” said Jon, who was patrolling in the area along with fellow Honeydew CPF officer Hanlee Fourie when he received a call from Thato, who luckily still had his number from his time as Panorama RA president. Thato had received a notification on her phone saying the silent alarm at their house had been triggered.
According to Hanlee, Asanda told her that he had hidden his iPad and PlayStation when he went to hide his sisters.
Thankfully, none of the children were hurt, and the Radebe family was reunited shortly after the incident. “We are really proud of him for acting so bravely and taking care of his sisters,” said Asanda’s dad, Ayanda.
As a reward for their immense bravery, Jon and Hanlee presented Asanda and Amahle with special Certificates of Bravery at a special handover at Panorama Primary School on Wednesday.