By Nonkululeko “Sicka” Mthunzi
The late Tswarelo ‘Pinky’ Moths, was brutally murdered and left under a platform in Northmead train station, in Benoni, Ekurhuleni Municipality. A 21-year-old full of life and free spirited, he loved and sacrificed for his mum and sadly today his family had to say good bye so soon without any justice for his death. On 7th October 2019 I received a text and a picture about the death of Tswarelo. Personally I didn’t know him but I have seen him once or twice around our township.
This brought so much emotions to me and even heartbreak when I was told he was Lesego Masilela’s cousin. No family deserves so much sadness and no mother deserves to bury their child especially in that state. I called Lesego the same day to confirm the news and I didn’t love what she had to say about how she felt. Firstly before the family even knew what happened to Tswarelo, the was already confusion about how he had passed.
A lot of people shared their views on how he died and took to social media, others took it as far as saying they were witnesses, while others said he committed suicide. The worst part about this confusion is that all of this false information was from some of the Queer community who didn’t know Tswarelo but they already felt the need to say so much. Imagine going through the death of a sibling and trying to understand their departure and have to deal with people who have taken the authority to be ‘Police officers, Forensic specialist, Paramedics, Judges and lawyers’ without any form of qualifications.
My call with Lesego was so sad because as I was about to offer my condolences she started telling me what she has been through ever since she heard of her cousin’s death. She told me a lot of people mostly LGBTIQ+ members kept on asking her why hasn’t she told anyone she was related to Tswarelo and what was Tswarelo doing at the train station. The same community we are supposed to be safe with interrogated Lesego instead of offering her condolences. Lesego carried on asking me what was she supposed to do? Tell the whole world she has a gay sibling or share all her family pictures just to prove they were related?
Honestly when I was told Tswarelo was related to Lesego I didn’t even see the need to ask because the resemblance was evident. We spoke for a long time coz I could feel she needed to vent about the outmost disgust she had about a lot of the LGBTIQ+ individuals who didn’t even come to the funeral. So make me understand my good people when did we move from being activists, advocates and fighters to being judges, lawyers and interrogators about such incidents?
Tswarelo died brutally, his body suit was found above his chest, his jeans were torn, a zip was missing, his body was full of bruises and his head was full of blood. Now explain to me, does a train do that to a person trying to commit suicide? Does a person trying to kill themselves look like that? “Tswarelo never liked the train” those were words from family members and friends and even one of his friends testified further to say, “when we go out partying we travel by taxi, we don’t use the train, we can afford taxifare. Please don’t disrespect our hustle like that.”
On the 11th I attended the memorial service which was memorable. We sang, others shed tears and his friends shared beer on his behalf and danced to his favorite song titled ‘Jobe’. Sadly there were a few of us Queer people at the service less than 10 to be exact and all the loud horns that had so much to say were no were to be seen. I am angry, I am broken by this, why the hell are we even fighting if we can’t show face when one of us has been brutally murdered? Or is it because he was not known? I didn’t know that you had to be famous to be buried by our fellow comrades. After the service more interrogators come forward asking why they were not told, I don’t know how this makes sense, it means when you lose a member you must market their death and invite people since a lot of them want to be told personally. Majority of people knew of a gay person being killed and none of the loud horns bothered to ask about funeral arrangements or a helping hand all they knew was to talk B*** She** about the deceased.
The funeral was on the 13th of October which was a Sunday and the number of people increased as time went by and eventually it was packed to a point that some people didn’t have transport to go to the cemetery. Everyone who wanted to see him for the last time were asked to come see him in the hearse since his body cannot enter the yard. In our culture someone who was killed or died from an accident is not mourned the same way, it is said if his coffin enters the yard it will bring a curse to the family that will bring a lot of death in the same way. Sad part about all of this is that after everything Tswarelo went through before his death his body couldn’t enter his home for the last time. The service was beautiful every speaker spoke truth even his church members from ‘Church of God and Saints of Christ’, it was a shock to some people who thought they knew him that he was religious and was baptised. Again the attendance from the LGBTIQ+ was limited and majority where friends, ex schoolmates, ANC youth league members and church members. I got a lift from an old friend Lindiwe with Lesego, Lebo Magaela, Vuyelwa ‘Vuvu’ Mtsweni, and Kabelo, the journey to the cemetery was long because there were so many cars. We the LGBTIQ+ members that were present sang comrades songs sending away our fellow member off while I documented with the help of Lebo. Apart from everything that hurt me it was a beautiful and memorable funeral and to Tswarelo la ulele khona, your execution will not silence us. Let your spirit live in the people you have touch lala ngoxolo muntu omusha
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