SPEAKERS STOOD up to celebrate Karabo’s short life . . . and to condemn her terrible death. And everybody listened with tears in their eyes to the words written in her broken-hearted mother’s letter.
YOU’LL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART, MY ANGEL. REST IN PEACE, MY BEAUTIFUL ANGEL. There were tears, joy and laughter as friends and family paid tribute to murdered Karabo Mokoena at the memorial service held at the packed Diepkloof Multi-Purpose Centre Hall in Soweto.
Since the life being celebrated was that of a young woman, the youths were given a chance to share their memories with the guests. Karabo’s friend, Neo Mohlabane, spoke about the last moments she spent with Karabo. She said they were at a restaurant in Sandton.
“I knew what had happened to my friend,” said Neo. “There were only a few bruises and scratches left, but overall she had recovered.” She said Karabo told her she was living testimony that there is a God.
“Look at me now. I’m still standing.” Neo described Karabo as a strong and bold person who had a vulnerable side that she didn’t show easily.“She told me everything may look perfect on the outside, but she was scared inside. She said her ex had hurt her, and she was still hurting.”
She said she asked her friend to go for counselling. One speaker read out a letter from Karabo’s mum, Lolo Mokoena. “I was so looking forward to all the beautiful things,” read Lolo’s letter. I will miss you making fun of me. You’ll always be in my heart, my angel. Rest in peace, my beautiful angel.”
Karabo’s cousin, Boipelo Mokoena, who described her as a beautiful queen, said: “Karabo lived her life. She was young, she travelled, she lived her life.”
He said it happened so fast. “But that’s the thing about life. We don’t know when we are going to go. Dr Adele Tjale of Wholeness Life Care Centre said killing women was no longer an unusual occurrence and said men were not doing anything about the issue.
“Where are the fathers?” she asked. “Women, men have failed to lead, the fathers of this nation have failed to protect the girl child. It’s up to us.”
Some of the prominent faces seen at the memorial were Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and veteran actor Patrick Shai.