Zulu boy in custody row may return to UK

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The Independent Online
A Zulu boy at the centre of a custody dispute between his natural parents and his "white mother" is expected to return to Britain.

Sifiso Mahlangu, 11, is said to have been "desperately unhappy" living in his parents' township home near Johannesburg after he was flown back from Britain.

Salome Stopford, who has cared for the boy since he was 18 months old but failed to adopt him, was "very encouraged" by news that Sifiso's father, Charles Mahlangu, had decided he should return.

Mrs Stopford, from Maida Vale, London, said: "He has apparently gone on TV and radio ... saying that he is sending Sifiso back.

"But I am not going to get my hopes up too high and I am waiting for him to tell me what is going to happen. I have spoken to Sifiso regularly since his return to South Africa, and he is desperately unhappy. I have had letters from him saying he wants to come home."

Mrs Stopford used to employ Sifiso's parents and brought him to Britain in 1992, when she took British citizenship.

The natural parents agreed to let him go for the good of his education, on condition they could visit him and that he would maintain his South African links.

The Mahlangus started legal moves to have him returned after discovering in 1994 that Mrs Stopford had launched an attempt to adopt him, and he was made a ward of court.

The case went as far as theHouse of Lords before Mrs Stopford's application for it to be referred to the European Court of Human Rights was rejected. Sifiso was returned in May.