2014 Jan. 5: After tears for Muntu Masombuka’s


Sfiso ‘Candice’ Nkosi, the chief mourner alongside family members at Vlakfontein cemetery…


Lesiba Mothibe reports,
Lindeka Qampi took photos

At 9pm I was already at home, tired from attending both the funeral and the after tears of Muntu Aubrey Masombuka.
As I took off my high laced heels divaliciously.
I realised  I had spent the whole day  in KwaThema.
This is the place I met Muntuza in 2002 (almost 12 years ago).
Ironically the after tears was hosted two streets away just before Mngadi street where a mutual friend of ours hooked me up with him.

The day started early in the morning and I arrived at 9am, just an hour after the service at the Assembly’s of God church commenced.
I looked classy with a floral skinny trouser that fitted well on my sexy booty and matched it with a lime blazer.
I knew that people will dress to kill …”excuse the pun.”
The Who’s Who of the LGBTIQA communities from different parts of Gauteng were there in big masses to bid farewell to Muntu.

Muntu _ twins_1216

A rarity, lesbian twins Siyanda & Luyanda Gumede came out stylishly to mourn a friend and fellow activist

They looked dazzling, I must say as I spotted a few butch lesbians in nice tailored suits  and  the drag queens wearing their sexy sassy dresses showing gorgeous legs.

As I walked towards Maphanga Street songs of the queer struggle welcomed my ears.  Comrades were chanting and singing their lungs out as a way of expressing their loss.
As I approached the entrance gay flags were raised high in the sky, winged from left to right.
Activists marched in and outside the church, while the service continued as if nothing was wrong.
I asked a friend who was there before me.
What was happening?
Why were the activists toyi  toying?

The friend replied and said ” the preacher is homophobic and they refused to give us a chance to  sing during the service…”


Sweeto Mahlatse, a dedicated activist from Vosloorus was at the forefront of this funeral like she did at the late Duduzile Zozo’s in July 2013

The March continued until they were ready to take Muntu to his final resting place.
A guard of honour was done for the  fallen activist who fought for the lgbtiqa human rights in Kwa Thema and beyond.

By the time I arrived at the cemetery with a friend, they were almost done with the burial. We waited 10 more minutes before they were done. We left for his home where they served us food.
I was starving like a dog.

Muntu _ food_1200

Lot of people, limited plates … but the caterers managed to feed everyone

Muntu @graveyard_1035

Throngs of friends, relatives and activists who attended the burial of Muntu Masombuka standing next to his grave site in Vlakfontein cemetery.

They were a lot of people who attended Muntu’s burial.
I met a few friends, ex friends, ex boyfriends and frienemys.
Muntu’s funeral brought people together.
It (re)connected relationships and helped others make new friends.
It reminded me of how colourful and stylish the South African black queer community is.

After we ate a message was passed around by one of the EPOC members that the after tears will be held at Thomas place.
The venue was in the same street but a few blocks down.
When I arrived there it was not inviting at all because I found people bored and with nothing to do.
Someone suggested we move to Mpumi’s place at Mdakana Street in Phomolo section.
When we arrived there most people were just sitting, cool R&B music was playing as others entered in bits and pieces. The party was about to begin, yuppie!!

We bought the first rounds of drinks, chilled and mingled, within an hour it was packed by funeral attendees and some who couldn’t make it earlier due to various commitments.
The place started to be more lively, the after tears began as the music changed from RnB to afro beats such as kwaito, house, old school dances songs etc.
The Rainbow community celebrated Muntuza Masombuka‘s life as jolly as he was.
His existence was the life of a party. The energy he expressed at many Gay Pride he attended.
He was a fun person who will be missed at the upcoming Gay parades, LGBTI meetings, community dialogues, parties etc.
His graceful presence was felt in every event he attended. In the 10 hours I was there and strongly believed his life was reflected.
If you didn’t know him, you would have had an idea what kind of a person Muntu was.

Muntu Masombuka_0955

Portrait of the late Muntu Aubrey Masombuka
1981 – 2013
Undated photo from family album.

Rest In Peace Muntuza!
We will always remember you.


About the author

Lesiba Mothibe is a former beauty queen, activist, events organizer and Chairperson of Uthingo (LGBT organisation) in Daveyton.

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2014 Jan. 5: High Fashion at Muntuza’s funeral in KwaThema




 2013 Dec. 25: Christmas that was



This entry was posted in 1981-2013, Visual Language, Visual Power, Visualizing public spaces, We Are You, We Care, We Love Photography, We Still Can with/out Resources, We were (t)here, Women's power, Women; Voices; Writings; Education; Traditions; Struggles; Cultures, Writing is a Right and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 2014 Jan. 5: After tears for Muntu Masombuka’s

  1. John Lombardo says:

    I so appreciate the narrative form you used here but your writing is offensive in some spots.
    The unfortunate angle of the photo of Sweeto Mahlatse is also offensive. The rate at which women are raped in South Africa is staggering, yet you’ve placed her in between the legs of another. Whether it’s the legs of a man or a woman matters much less than what the image evokes.
    The word “starving” is offensive as well. First it matters little that you were hungry and does nothing at all for the narrative. Second, you were just hungry. To use the word “starving” in a country where some are actually starving, is offensive.

    To use the pun “dressed to kill” is the most egregious statement. Puns are not always funny or appropriate. This would be funny nowhere, much less a country where killing of gays and lesbian happens so often and is all but expected at this point. Not to mention, it matters little how you and others were dressed given the purpose of the event.

    Your “sexy booty” also matters little. Is this a piece in honour and in memory of Muntuzu, or a self-serving fashion work? In fact, the article says more about you than it does this man who was so poorly treated. He deserves much more.

  2. Debora says:

    This is a good story to tell, hw Muntu was and wat happen to this funeral not because he was gay but because he was an activist which was very focused to fight for gay right Lala ngongcolo Muntu

  3. Sphilile Hlela says:

    Well I beg to differ at the above comment by John Lombardo…I note that you have highlighted a few key words from the writer. The whole LGBTI community appreciates the writers tenacity and his energetic approach. With the reference to women being raped in South Africa I share the sentiment but why throw such an angle at someone who was exercising the right to free speech. Is South Africa the only country that has a high rate of rape? I find that statement totally irrelevant to the article. Are we not living in a Democratic society. Furthermore you mention the pun “dressed to kill” as an egregious statement , how so if I may ask? Is there a manual as to how a writer is supposed to write about a funeral??? As I prefer to say writing is a form of art and some you may like and some you may not. But critique someones work in this way is way out of line. Muntu’s memory was not desecrated rather he was honoured in many different ways. This way may not agree with you. Oh well! I salute the writer!

  4. Pingback: 2014 Jan. 10: Opulence at the memorial service of Brenda “the hustler” | inkanyiso.org

  5. Nomagugu magagula says:

    This one i have to SAY i am PROUD of you Lee. Great story covered may God bless you and your work must go out there to reach the world……………. NOMAGUGU MAGAGULA

  6. Mpho says:

    I appreciate the creativity and the way you have unpack the event. It feels as though i have attended the funeral just by reading this. Keep up

  7. Pingback: South African Visual Activism opens eyes in Liverpool | inkanyiso.org

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