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Mekgoe was a generous woman

Lerato Maphatsoe

Lerato Maphatsoe

It's been a difficult two weeks. Last Saturday my friend Refiloe Petunia Mekgoe and I had an appointment to attend a funeral of another colleague.

When she didn't show up, I thought she had just been held up somewhere. Mekgoe was more than just a colleague.

She was like a member of my family, a sister. So, before leaving home for the funeral in Protea Glen, Soweto, I phoned her to tell her to start off early because I was on the funeral programme.

I left my phone in the car and went into the funeral service. Once we were done, I walked to my car and drove towards the cemetery, wondering where Mekgoe was.

As I drove towards the big intersection, I noticed an accident involving a car and a bus.

Eyewitnesses said the bus driver had jumped a red robot. It was my friend's car. Throughout the service, her boyfriend had frantically been trying to get hold of me to tell me that Mekgoe had been in an accident.

She had been rushed to Lenmed Clinic where I joined her family. The doctor asked us to wait while they attended to her. After a while he came out, called us into a room and explained the extent of her head, chest and hand injuries. He said she was still alive.

I was hopeful she would make it, but half an hour later, the doctor came back and delivered the devastating news. Mekgoe had not made it. I was numb, confused and shocked. How was this possible? How could my friend die just like that? Was it my fault because I had asked her to come to the funeral with me?

I have been depressed and sad. But after speaking to her mother and sister, I feel much better now. They said I should not blame myself for what happened.

Like I said earlier, Mekgoe and I were very close. We did a lot of things together both at work and at home. And now she is gone.

Mekgoe's short life was well lived, all 29 years of it. It might have been filled with tribulations, but she was a very generous soul, always looking out for others.

Popularly known as 02, because she excelled in the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) radio room, Mekgoe was born on June 13 1978 in Meadowlands. She attended Tlhokomelong Primary School and Bona Secondary School. She joined the JMPD in 2005 and did her field training at Orlando police station.

At the time of her death, she was working in Martindale in the chief operations office.

Mekgoe will be buried tomorrow at Roodepoort Cemetery.

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