2014 Oct. 15: Dignified funeral for LGBTI and HIV activist

by Lerato Dumse

Kind, compassionate, diligent and loving are some of the words used by speakers, to describe Musa Williams (47).

How he performed his duties at work, and his activism fighting for the rights of LGBTI and HIV positive people.

They were talking during his funeral on Wed. October 15, held at his home in Kwa-Thema, where he died suddenly a week before.

The funeral service started with less than 10 people, who sang in the lounge where Musa’s coffin stood.

People were then given an opportunity to view him for the last time, before moving to the tent where the full program was carried out.

Fani Masemula was first to talk, speaking on behalf of the family.

He said they were saddened by Musa’s passing, but realised it is the community he helped that has suffered the biggest loss.

Next on the program was a neighbor Sibusiso who said, Musa was a brother and a friend to him.

He added that Musa taught him how to handle tough times, and Musa’s passing is his first test at handling such a situation.

Nontyatyambo Makapela shared memories of Musa, when he joined them in establishing TAC in KwaThema.

How he used his own resources to mobilize people, even though he was part of the National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPWA).

She said that was testament of Musa’s passion in helping those affected by HIV in his community.

Just like the meaning of his name, Nontyatyambo said she saw him practice kindness in other people’s lives.


2014 Oct. 15 Thokozile Khulwane_9683

Mrs Thokozile Khulwane preaching during the funeral service…

“Musa had characteristics of a leader, he was able to save many lives and prove that HIV doesn’t kill, but societal stigma does,” she concluded.

While long time friend, Sevi Makhonjwa said Musa’s life purpose was to serve people and “God must be giving him a lots of correct ticks because he stepped up to his call.

Sevi spoke about how they were together with Musa burying another friend and activist Manku Maduwane just last month, not far from Musa’s home.

With the funeral service at home wrapped up, mourners then proceeded to Vlakfontein Cemetery.


Pastor T. Moema who prayed at the funeral service of Musa Williams

Pastor T. Moema who prayed at the funeral service of Musa Williams


2014 Oct. 15 Lindeka Qampi @ Musa s place_9673

Lindeka Qampi, photographer who documented the service for Inkanyiso


Members of the LGBTI community, HIV activists and colleagues he worked with as community health care workers, marched some distance in front of the hearse singing.

There was a slight drizzle, which looked threatening when mourners arrived at the cemetery.
However this did not disrupt the smooth service, as the sun soon came out shining.

While some worked hard with spades to cover Musa’s grave, others continued singing, saying their final goodbye to a man they called IQHAWE!


2014 Oct. 15 Ingubo _9894

Musa’s coffin wrapped with blue blanket as a sign of respect for the late activist…




Young queer leaders and activists from KwaThema and surrounding areas came in full support…




Indlu yokugcina_9938

                                   Final resting place for Musa, “You’ll never be forgotten…”                                                      © Photos by Zanele Muholi (2014)




Previous article


2014 Oct. 13: Mother of the recently murdered lesbian demands justice






2014 Sept. 28: An emotional farewell for the recent victim of hate crime






2014 Sept. 8: Manku and her niece buried next to each other








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