Karabo had a strength I had never seen in anyone- Dr Nyele

By Qhama Dayile
19 May 2017

’I say, let us increase the minimum sentence of abusers and those who murder women- Minister Bathabile Dlamini

IT WAS a very sad farewell for Karabo Mokoena. Tears flow freely as speaker after speaker took to the podium to pay their last respects. On a sunny Friday morning, family and friends gather for the funeral of Karabo at Diepkloof Multi-purpose hall to bid farewell to a young woman described by her friends as brave and loving. Celebrities like Sonia Mbele, Deborah Fraser, Blondie Makhene, DJ Maphorisa, Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Minister Susan Shabangu and ANC Women’s league were among the mourners.

Karabo was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe (27) after a fight on 28 April and burned her body.

Unable to hold back the tears, guests weep as Karabo's older sister Bontle Mokoena reads a letter written by Karabo in 2015 to her father.

"I was born in Zone 4 Diepkloof Soweto in 1995. I grew up in a family of five; parents, brother and sister.

In my heart of hearts I cannot express the nature of gratefulness for the parents the Lord placed on my life; I could never trade them for anything.

It's amazing how God brings people together for his Devine purpose for the glory of his kingdom. My parents aren't the richest or the poorest.  We had really tough times.

They took risks to give us roper opportunities. They taught us the ways of life. I have a very strict father, very bold and called a spade a spade. My father is the type of man everyone knew. We had really tough times, accompanied by better days too…” Karabo wrote in the letter.

Bontle described her sister as beautiful, loving, caring and God fearing.

South African Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini stood chanting ‘Igama Lamakhosi Kazi malibongwe’ to address mourners.

“After I heard about Karabo’s death I started speaking to young people and one of the ANC women’s league members said, ‘we need to review the constitution.’ I say, let us increase the minimum sentence of abusers and those who murder women. Times have changed; nowadays children are materialistic and they love money. Let us not be quiet, let us break the silence. At 22 years you are at your prime and no one has the right to cut that life. Men this must come to an end.

I am totally against #Menaretrash, but those who are not trash must stand up.”

Dr. Adele Nyele, who had been a support system to Karabo through a church organization named, Kings and Queens which actress Sonia Mbele is also part of, said Karabo confided in her every time Sandile laid a hand on her.

“I spent hours with Karabo. When I first met her she was in a place that no woman should ever be in,” she said.

Without going too much into details about her counseling sessions with Karabo, Dr. Nyele said Karabo had dreams. “Karaba had a strength I had never seen on anyone. She would look at me while I cried for her after Sandile beat her and she would say, “Oh shame mom you’re crying for me.’ She once came to my house at 9pm completely battered and bruised. This child looked at me and said, ‘mom I don’t care who did what but this is the temple of the living God and you cannot change it.”

Dr. Nyele went on to say that society has made abuse a norm; men have taken a back seat in acting against the pandemic.

“Today we have allowed children to do what they want. The fathers of this nation have not protected our girl child. #Handsoffourgirls,” she said in anger.

As the white and gold casket of Karabo dropped to the ground, giving words of encouragement to the family, controversial Pastor Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng of the Incredible Happenings church said that the growing killing of women and children, was not merely abuse but is a spiritual pandemic.

“This is not just abuse, this is Satanic. People are sacrificing others for money and financial gain. This is a spiritual war; we need every person to fight. This is a wake-up call and a restoration of mankind. Karabo is a life that will change all lives,” he said.

A day before the funeral, at the memorial service, actor and recovered woman abuser Patrick Shai who is part of Khuluma Ndoda (a movement of men who are leading to end gender violence) said this was the most difficult time in South Africa for men and men need to evaluate the kind of men they are. “How many dialogues and forums do we need to have for men to come forward? When are we going to take our positions and come to the defense of our women and children? How many Karabo’s must die before we take a stand? I changed from being a domestic violence perpetrator to the person I am today so I can take away the possibility and the ability to murder someone,” he said.

A week before her tragic death Karabo told her friend Neo Mohlabane,

“Everything may look perfect on the outside but inside I am rotten. This man can beat me as much as he likes, this body is not mine; this body is the temple of God.”

Fast-forward two weeks later, Karabo’s burnt body lies in a pure white casket covered with bouquets of flowers and wreaths from family, friends, and members of the public. On 29 April 2017, Karabo was murdered by alleged ex-boyfriend Sandile Montsoe at his Sandton apartment, he then wheeled her in a Pikitup bin to his car, drove to a field in Lyndhurst Park, drenched in petrol and torched her dead body.

After the family had reported Karabo’s disappearance, the family received a search warrant to search Sandile’s flat and according to CCTV footage taken by the apartment on 28 April 2017 Karabo arrived at Sandile’s apartment in a metre taxi. The footage does not show Karabo leaving but shows Sandile wheeling out a big plastic bin out of his apartment and Karabo’s ID and passport were found in a dustbin of the same apartment complex.

Sandile later then confessed to burning Karabo’s body after saying he found her already dead at his apartment. Sandile is currently in custody and awaiting trial at the Johannesburg magistrate’s court on 24 May 2017.

Karabo leaves her father Maugraigne Mokoena, Lorraine “Lolo” Mokoena, older sister Bontle and younger brother Lebogang in deep sorrow.

According to Statistics SA’s 2016 Demographic and Health Survey, 1 in every 5 South Africa women older than 18 has experienced physical violence. Four in 10 divorced or separated women reported physical violence.

Extra sources: Statistics SA, Daily Maverick

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