She loved that man - Karabo Mokoena's friend

By Pam Magwaza
19 May 2017

"She loved him."

 "She loved him."

That was how an emotional Steph Leong, friend of the slain Karabo Mokoena, 22, described her affection for the man now accused of killing her. Leong was speaking at Mokoena's memorial on Wednesday.

Leong, 25, was one of the first to tweet Mokoena's picture when she went missing, which garnered more than 11 000 retweets.

Mokoena was found burned beyond recognition on April 29.

Her 27-year-old ex-boyfriend, Sandile Mantsoe, is alleged to have killed her before discarding of her body in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg.

Following the incident, scores of stories have surfaced from women sharing their own experiences with abusive partners and relatives speaking out about family members who had gone missing, only to be found killed by the ones they trusted.

Read more: Karabo murder accused is a ‘humble churchgoer’ says friend

Determined woman

Leong described the relationship between Mokoena and Mantsoe as volatile, saying that Mokoena loved him dearly.

"Karabo loved Sandile with all her being. She loved that man. She would do anything to make things work between the two of them, and even as friends when we spoke to her and told her 'Leave this guy,' Karabo went back to him.

"She finally did leave him because the abuse obviously just got too much, but in that relationship, she loved him, she would do anything for him," she said, shaking her head and fighting tears.

Leong told News24 that she got to know Mokoena as a confident and determined young woman. She said she and Mokoena shared clothes. Mokoena was also the one who introduced her to God, said Leong.

Speaking at the memorial on Wednesday, another friend, Neo Mohlabane said that she had seen Mokoena on her last weekend alive.

She said that Mokoena was still sporting a few bruises, but told her: "I am testimony that there is a God. He tried to finish me, but I am still here."

Mohlabane said that if Mokoena was alive, she would have said: "Nana, nna [me], I have forgiven him." Mohlabana said she encouraged people to forgive and pray for Mantsoe and his family, saying there was hope for him.

Leong said that the family was devastated at losing Mokoena in such a violent manner.

"We are all still kind of shocked, I don't know if reality has sunk in yet. Dying young is one thing, but the way Karabo died is just completely devastating. Every time I think about it, I get goose bumps because I don't believe it," she said between sniffles.

"Her mom is shell-shocked. There's obviously also the stress from having to deal with the court case; it's not just dealing with grief - it's a combination of all of that."


Leong said that Mokoena had many aspirations, and one of them was helping women and children in abusive situations.

"It's not just us who have lost out on Karabo because Karabo's plan was to help many people. It's our duty to do what Karabo wanted to do, and to help others," said Leong.

Leong's message was read out at the memorial while she sat with her head down in the front row, caressing a toddler, next to Mokoena's father, Thabang Mokoena.

"I won't say goodbye; you are with our father in heaven," her friend read out to a hall full of community members, relatives and friends at Diepkloof Hall in Soweto.

"I'll miss her a lot," said Leong.

The funeral service is due to take place on Friday from 08:00 until 10:00 at Diepkloof Hall in Soweto before proceeding to Westpark Cemetery in Montgomery Park, Johannesburg.

Source: News24 Wire

Read more: Karabo Mokoena’s alleged killer in court

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