Gone but not forgotten – Killer Kau, Mpura and artists who died alongside them honoured a year later

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Killer Kau was killed in a fatal car crash with Mpura and Khaya Hadebe last August.
Killer Kau was killed in a fatal car crash with Mpura and Khaya Hadebe last August.
Oupa Bopape

It's been a year since they died and left South Africans grieving and in search of answers. 

Amapiano artists Killer Kau, Mpura, Khanya 'The Voice' Hadebe, Thando Tot, and TD died in a car crash while on their way to gigs in Rusternberg, North West.

The tragedy happened during the lockdown, which had heavy restrictions and a lot of their fans couldn’t be part of the candlelight ceremony, memorial services, and funerals because there were limits in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

This week marked a year since the horrific accident and to commemorate this day SMEA (Soweto Music and Entertainment Academy) had a convoy to the accident scene, which was led by the families.

Speaking to Drum the artists' manager and Killer Kau’s booking agent, Gugulethu Setlhamo, says Sunday was a success and everything went very well.

She tells us how the idea of revisiting the site came about. She and some of her friends went on the convoy last year a month after the artists passed because she didn’t have the time to go immediately, as they were preparing for the memorials and funerals.

"More than anything it was to fix the way the crosses were placed, and we thought we might as well allow people to come because some people couldn’t do the convoy and the funeral, and this was a way to give people an opportunity to get their closure and also pay their last respects," she tells Drum.

“Last year we went after laying the boys to rest.

"After two weeks, I got a call from Tot’s sister and they said we should’ve told them so that we could all go together.

"And we thought, after a year, we should all go there because they initially put the crosses on the wrong side. The crosses were supposed to be on the right-hand side but they put them on the left-hand side.” 

Read more | ‘I miss how loud he was’ – Killer Kau’s family to celebrate his birthday in his honour

Gugulethu says they also thought this would be a good time for the families to get to know each other. 

"The families were present and were also involved in the whole thing.

"Everything was discussed on a WhatsApp group and we agreed that we will convoy to Rustenburg, then their burial sites, and then come together at PDL in Soweto for cultural activities."

She says at the scene they observed a moment of silence, held a candle ceremony, changed the pictures and left new flowers.

They then went to West Park Cemetery and Nasrec Cemetery, guided by the families, where they cleaned, prayed the burial sites and changed the flowers.

“We all experienced different emotions – pain, hurt, comfort, and joyfulness," says Gugulethu. 

"Seeing everyone in attendance just speaks volumes and has given me a different perspective on the choices you make with friends. It is important to have friends that will ride for you even when you are no longer alive.”

Gugulethu says what happened on Sunday was bigger than them and it was an amazing experience because they spoke about keeping each other’s memories alive if they passed away.

“It was important for us to do this because, besides being business partners and friends, we were also a family,” she says.

"So it is important for us to continue with their legacy and that is what we are doing.

"We had conversations about death before and we spoke about always celebrating each other, even if one of us is no longer alive, and that is what we did."

"This moment was important because even if it was me in that situation, they would’ve done the same or even more because we gave each other our everything."

Read more | ‘We were happy in the car that night’ - Lone survivor breaks her silence on Mpura accident

Killer Kau's sister, Gugulethu Hlatshwayo, says she is happy that the people who shared time with Killer while he was living his dream thought of such a gesture and they joined in as a family because they were also planning to do the same thing.

“Everything went well, I am happy about how we all came together for the greater good. It is important to always remember them.

"And doing this as a family is to show them that we didn’t forget about them and the role that they played both in their families and the entertainment industry.”

She says they will always keep the boys' memory alive; they might not go to the accident scene every year but they will keep their legacy alive and celebrate them because they were still young and had a promising future.

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