The murder of a doctoral student and father has left the academic community shocked and saddened.

A well-known Wits University doctoral student was killed at his home in Tembisa on Monday, July 8.

Moses Mtileni, 36, was shot and fatally wounded by armed robbers during a home invasion in which his fiancée was injured.

“He was a peaceful man, one who would avoid conflict at all times. That is why it is very painful for us as a family that he met his death in the manner in which he did,” said Goodman Mtileni, Moses’ older brother, told Wits Vuvuzela.

Goodman believes that his brother’s shooting was premeditated and not a random act.

“If you look at the things they ran away with, those are things they would have taken without going further to take somebody else’s life,” he said.

According to Goodman, the intruders stole a plasma screen, cell phone, Moses’s ID book and a laptop among other things.

Moses Mtileni, a father of three had completed two master’s degrees at Wits, one in urban planning and the other in development economics. He also held a master’s degree in creative writing from Rhodes University. Mtileni was undertaking doctoral studies in town and regional planning at Wits, while simultaneously completing a distance learning doctorate in literary studies at the University of the Western Cape.

One of Mtileni’s friends and fellow Wits graduate, Ntokozo Mjiyako told Wits Vuvuzela, “The manner [Moses] would calmly engage in sometimes heated political debates left a lasting impression on me.

“He was not only committed to the struggles of students, but also to those of other members of the Wits community, especially the general workers.”

Mtileni was a sessional lecturer at Wits and also played an important role in activism as the 13th provincial chairperson of Sasco Gauteng.

Nqobile Malaza, a colleague of Mtileni said, “[He was] a country boy born in Ka-Nkuri village, in rural Limpopo, who made good in the big city and made his people proud in the process … He leaves us with a literary legacy and a significant hole in our hearts. Witsies have lost a treasure and remarkable human being”.  

A memorial service for Mtileni was held at Wits on Wednesday, July 17. He was laid to rest on Saturday, July 20 in Nkuri, Giyani. No arrests have made in connection with the killing and the investigation continues.

FEATURED IMAGE: Moses Mtileni, a Wits student and sessional lecturer at Wits who was killed on July 8. Photo: Provided