'I'm sorry mom'
Cape Town - "I hope you can forgive me, Mom, I really do not have the strength to carry on. I pray that the Lord will forgive me and that you will be able to understand and accept as time goes by."
This was the last wish of Ralph Rabie, better known as Johannes Kerkorrel, expressed in a letter written to his mother before he committed suicide in a forested area, 5km outside Kleimond, on Tuesday.
He told her there was no other way.
Rabie wrote the letter on Saturday, three days before his death. He also left letters for his partner and the police.
To his partner Demetrios Demetriou he wrote: "I do not have any other option. I am in such a deep state of depression that I see no future for myself."
In a letter to the police, Kerkorrel admitted that he could no longer pay his bills and that he had no work for the next two months.
The popular singer was laid to rest at an intimate service in Kleinmond on Saturday. Only about 20 family members and close friends attended the funeral.
Among them were well-known singer Mynie Grove, and Lieze Stassen, who performed political satire with Rabie in The Green Room in Cape Town in 1986, as well as his agent, Janneke Strijdonk.
The singer's mother, Anne Rabie from Sasolburg, disclosed the content of her son's last letter to Rapport.
He wrote: "I recently discovered that all the work I had done for my new album had disappeared from my computer.
"I don't know how I can start again. There is no other option for me. I have thought this through."
In his letter to Demetriou he wrote that the loss of his music made him very depressed.
Kerkorrel's mother said the death of her son was a "very, very painful matter".
She said that he probably selected Kleinmond because he loved the town.
"Even though my child was public property, he was really a very private person - just like me. But you keep up appearances for the sake of your work."
She said her son had not been receiving treatment for depression.
Sonja Barkhuizen, Kerkorrel's sister, said the CD he was working on contained "the most beautiful songs".
They never suspected that he had problems.
"He would rather have taken his coffee without milk than to ask someone."