On November 17, two residents of a neighbourhood in Olivedale, north of Johannesburg were startled by pleas for food coming from within a walled estate. A small hand came through a gap in the wall with two 5 cent pieces and asking for someone to buy food for him. Investigators found an eight-year old boy dressed in threadbare clothes. After being persuaded to open the gate, he started running frantically from one side of the road to another. It was the first time he had been outside the estate in many years.
Dubbed the "Tarzan of Suburbia", the boy is currently in a pediatric ward undergoing treatment. The boy's father, a 68-year old retired Austrian pilot, had lived in the walled estate for years with no indication that he was hiding a child there. The boy's mother was apparently a domestic servant who left the child in his care. After the father collapsed and was taken to hospital five days earlier, the boy was left to fend for himself. Neighbours were startled by the discovery and described the father as a "very, very peaceful neighbour".
When asked by police why he had hidden the boy, he reportedly replied, "That's a difficult question to ask. I didn't want people to know that there was a little boy there." The boy had never attended school and his only information on the outside world came from his father and television.
Child protective service workers are investigating.