Current Affairs

GALLERY: Inside Karabo Mokoena’s funeral

Doves are released over the casket of Karabo Mokoena after it was lowered into the ground at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
Doves are released over the casket of Karabo Mokoena after it was lowered into the ground at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
Full details on Karabo Mokoena's funeral.

Today, we laid Karabo Mokoena, a victim of murder at the hands of the man she loved, to rest at the West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg.

Of those in attendance at the 22-year-old’s funeral were some of the ANC Women’s league members who have been explicitly clear that they condemn any form of violence against women and children. Also present were the cell group, Kings and Queens, who Karabo Mokoena was a part of.

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  • Men against violence toward women stand alongside Karabo's coffin during her funeral service in the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaMen against violence toward women stand alongside Karabo's coffin during her funeral service in the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • Men against violence toward women stand alongside Karabo's coffin during her funeral service in the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaMen against violence toward women stand alongside Karabo's coffin during her funeral service in the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • A mourner takes a photograph of a poster of Karabo Mokoena during her funeral service at Diepkloof Community Hall, Soweto on the 19th of May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaA mourner takes a photograph of a poster of Karabo Mokoena during her funeral service at Diepkloof Community Hall, Soweto on the 19th of May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • One of the officiating clergy waits outside with the casket of Karabo Mokoena at her funeral service at the Diepkloof Community Hall, Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaOne of the officiating clergy waits outside with the casket of Karabo Mokoena at her funeral service at the Diepkloof Community Hall, Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • Pallbearers carry the casket of Karabo Mokoena into the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto during her funeral service on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaPallbearers carry the casket of Karabo Mokoena into the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto during her funeral service on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender-based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Karabo Mokoena was wheeled into the venue in a pearl white coffin led by the priest and followed by her family. Speaking of who Karabo was to him, Linda Makhanya, one of the founders of Kings and Queens said: “Karabo had so many convictions. She told me on a night when we spoke about some of these that: ‘I’m going to speak and convince people that the Bible is the most powerful book in the world.’

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  • Family members of Karabo Mokoena lay handfuls of dirt and flowers into their daughters grave at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaFamily members of Karabo Mokoena lay handfuls of dirt and flowers into their daughters grave at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • Karabo Mokoena's parents, Lolo and Tshepo Mokoena, lay handfuls of dirt and flowers into their daughters grave at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaKarabo Mokoena's parents, Lolo and Tshepo Mokoena, lay handfuls of dirt and flowers into their daughters grave at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • Doves are released over the casket of Karabo Mokoena after it was lowered into the ground at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaDoves are released over the casket of Karabo Mokoena after it was lowered into the ground at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • The casket of Karabo Mokoena is lowered into the ground at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaThe casket of Karabo Mokoena is lowered into the ground at Westpark Cemetary in Randburg during her funeral on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • The casket of Karabo Mokoena is carried out of Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto during her funeral service on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaThe casket of Karabo Mokoena is carried out of Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto during her funeral service on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • Pallbearers carry the casket of Karabo Mokoena out of the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto during her funeral service on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaPallbearers carry the casket of Karabo Mokoena out of the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto during her funeral service on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini was also in attendance, along with Susan Shabangu, the South African politician and minister of women in the Presidency.

They both spoke strongly against violence against women. Dlamini strongly encouraged women to leave once they spotted signs of abuse in their relationships. She noted that in situations such as these many love to include politics and strongly discouraged this.

“Let us stop politicising issues that affect us on a daily basis because we are misleading our children,” she said

Dlamini voiced her stance against the ‘Men Are Trash’ hashtag,

“I’m against the Men Are Trash hashtag, but those that say not all men must stand up and say not in my name!” she said

Shabangu on the other hand posed a challenge to churches and to men all over the country to not just pray and let them return to their abusers but rather to offer support and safety.

“Our women are angry because we believe that our men are letting us down we live in fear because we can no longer even walk we are scared,” she said

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  • A poster of Karabo Mokoena sits above her casket at her funeral service in the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaA poster of Karabo Mokoena sits above her casket at her funeral service in the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • Mourners cry during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaMourners cry during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • A preacher encourages the crowd during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaA preacher encourages the crowd during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • A mourner cries during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaA mourner cries during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
  • A mourner cries during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017.  Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel PanchiaA mourner cries during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

The most emotional speech by far was made by Bontle Mokoena, Karabo Mokoena’s elder sister, when she finally said goodbye.

“This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” she said before starting and began reading out a heartfelt letter that her sister, Karabo, wrote to her parents in 2015.

Bontle Mokoena, Karabo Mokoena's sister, cries during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
Bontle Mokoena, Karabo Mokoena’s sister, cries during the funeral service of Karabo Mokoena in Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto on 19 May 2017. Mokoena was killed and burnt, allegedly by her boyfriend, in a murder that shocked the country and catalysed debate around gender based violence. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

“You have left a whole in my heart, and I thank my parents for bringing you into my life. I love you with all my heart. When I look at this coffin it’s hard to believe that it’s you in there,” she choked.

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About the author

Ofentse Maphari