2014 June 16 : Remembering Thapelo with a broken heart

by Tsepo Kgatlhane


The funeral service of Thapelo Makutlhe at home in Kuruman on the 16th June 2012.                                   © Photos by Zanele Muholi (2012/06/16)


Lebo Mathosa once said: “You cannot deny death. You cannot fear it. I am sure that God has a better place for us, if you are a good believer.”

This memorial is written to celebrate a life not yet lived.
How do I start?
What can I say?
Why did you have to go?

This year, on the 16th June 2014, marks 2 years since your untimely death. Life went on. Everybody moved on, but I can’t help but still miss you and wonder what and where you would have been now, for you had big dreams for yourself and your community. Your passing has left an enormous hole in my life, but your life filled mine with so much growth and everything that was wonderful.

I run out of words trying to articulate the pedestal on which I placed you in my heart.  Today l remember you still and have that blissful feeling in my heart. Only you and I understood the kind of bond we shared hence the world shall never understand why in every step l take l miss you.  Even though l didn’t spend every day with you, each moment we had felt like a lifetime. I respected the way you carried yourself.

I honour the passion you had for life, the unapologetic attitude in taking courageous action towards fulfilling your dreams and being entirely yourself without letting the world determine that.  In my spirit l still find moments to tell you how much life would have been insanely whole with you cracking jokes with me and showing your crazy dance moves. I loved that, you are a friend that had his own weaknesses yet your strength outshone the rest, you never let anything keep you down.

Every time l do something to change the world l do it for you too because you were different, you were a change and those close to you knew how much you cared for the world – selfless and adventurous. Unaware of how much your passing left a mark in my life, you cleaned my mirror and made me understand how crucial it is that l live for the moment. I will always remember you Thapelo Makuthle.



Gone but not forgotten
This is more than just a
memorial note
It’s an oath
I’m doing it for us both
More for you than for me
You have inspired me to be
the change I want to see,
To be the best that I can be

Although it’s been hard
Since you left me
I know you’re looking down on me
I know that you are proud
of me for embracing me.
Your memory lives on
in all that I do,
You do too.

Not a day goes by that I
don’t think about you.
What you would have said,
What would you do?
 Your death brought death
and turned it to life!
All my days I will keep you
alive, in all that I do.

Like I did when I collected shoes.
You are here still.
All through the Winter, Spring, Summer
and Autumn.
You may be gone but you are not forgotten.


Previous by Tsepo


2014 June 11:  I am an educator



Related links


2012 June

Thapelo Makuthle’s service





Thapelo Makuthle’s funeral





One of the friends who attended Thapelo’s funeral in Kuruman…


Laid to rest respectfully by family, relatives and friends…
after the moving service from the family church.

2012-06-18-10…the Pastor who opened the memorial service the day before the funeral.

Shaine Griqua who denounced the act of violence.
Shaine is the one who alerted me about brutal murder of Thapelo Makuthle, and expressed the need to document  memorial and funeral service.
My friends Funeka Soldaat, activist and director of FreeGender and Justin Davy, filmmaker and videographer joined me on that trip from Cape Town to Kuruman, Northern Cape.


During the funeral service which was held at Makuthle’s home in Kuruman.


Distinguished friends from all walks of life attended Thapelo’s funeral… 


Holding the memorial programme, Funeka Soldaat, … denouncing…
was there to give support to the family and 
 local activists…


 Funeka giving a hug to Thapelo’s mother…

 Two pastors read the scriptures before the cortege left the home for cemetery



The family loss is our loss as the LGBTI community in South Africa…

Before the coffin was lowered

Before the coffin was lowered









This entry was posted in 2012 June 16, Archived memories, Archiving Queer Her/Histories in SA, Art Activism in South Africa, Blackness, Coffin, Commemorating the queer youth we lost along the way, Commitment, Committed, Contributors, Education, Emotional support, Empowerment, Evidence, Exchanging Queer thoughts, Female Photographers, From Cape Town to Kuruman, Hate Crimes, Hate crimes Victims names, Justin Davy, Northern Cape, Thapelo Makuthle's funeral documented by Zanele Muholi/ Inkanyiso, Videography, Zanele Muholi documented Thapelo Makutlhe's funeral in 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2014 June 16 : Remembering Thapelo with a broken heart

  1. Deat Author. You have no idea how happy I am that I for the first time just read a text that doesn’t say “Gone too soon”
    Your text is so easy to read and not dipressing for the kind of event you wrote about. Keep it up.

  2. Thabiso says:

    It was your soul that touched us all.

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