Lerato ‘Tambai’ Moloi

Zeitz MOCCA, Cape Town, 2017

Tribute by Zandile Motsoeneng


To my darling Lerato Tambai,

How it saddens me to write about you when you are no longer with us, how am I supposed to write about your smile, never mind your laugh?

Dear cousin of mine, I am sorry, so sorry I wasn’t there on that fateful night, I sleep with regret every night knowing how those monsters assaulted you, took your dignity and right to live. They acted as God and made decisions that not only af­fected you but everyone.

I recall when I got the call about your passing, I was at work, and it was from Jade my friend. She said, “Mazee Tambai (ore sile mfethu), she has passed away”. No, how could it be? I recall screaming, tears failing, because I was numb to hear the way of your passing. She said you were sexually assaulted, and that it looked as though you had been stoned. Anger filled my whole entire body, and does till today.

Ntwana (Lerato), when I think of our olden days of playing soccer in the dusty streets of Naledi, summer days when we would pour water on people returning from work, and run so fast to hide, it tears me apart. When those animals hurt you they hurt everyone. It’s no longer the same at home, aunty expects you to walk through that door every time, or when your favourite song comes on, instead of singing along as we used to, we weep. How we wish we could see you one last time, take away the pain you went through before your last breath, even grant you one wish.

I made a promise that I won’t rest until those animals rot in jail, hence I am at every court appearance outside chanting, asking for their heads. Maybe in that we will find closure. Maybe then sleeping will be normal again, and maybe then our be­loved Tambai you will rest knowing your friends, family and community members were united because of you. Where everyone saw each other as humans, and sexually did not come to play…

Till we meet again Ntwana, you are loved.

Zandile Motsoeneng, September 2017