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THE DEATH of former Isidingo actress Lesego Motsepe has shocked the nation.
Best known for her decade-long role as Lettie Matabane in the soapie, Motsepe, 39, was found dead at her Randburg home by her brother Moemise Motsepe at about 11am on Monday.
She died of natural causes, according to the family.
In December, 2011, Motsepe revealed her HIV status on Kaya FM as part of an awareness-raising initiative for World Aids Day.
She had been living with the virus since 1998, 13 years prior to the announcement, but started taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) only in 2010.
In 2012, she reportedly announced on 3Talk, an SABC3 talk show, that she had stopped taking the drugs and decided to adopt a holistic approach to her treatment. This included meditation and a healthy diet.
Motsepe had been working as an Aids activist for many years, and after the disclosure, she continued her activism, working as part of a non-profit organisation, Afrikarize, which tackled issues and concerns about HIV/Aids as well as tackling socio-economic challenges facing young people.
A family statement described the actress as a poet, storyteller, motivational speaker, daughter, sister and friend. She was also a voice-over artist, singer and content producer.
“As much as Lesego cherished her privacy, she always appreciated the expressions of goodwill from people around the country and from all walks of life,” the statement read. “While we mourn the loss of a very good woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world.”
Condolences have poured in from fans and colleagues.
“Lesego was an incredible talent… We will always cherish (her) for the memories and joy she brought to her fans, especially with her character of Lettie Matabane on Isidingo. This is indeed a sad start to the year for an industry that has lost so many legends. It is particularly hard because Lesego was still very young,” said Gauteng Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Lebogang Maile.
Motsepe is survived by her mother Ivy Skhosana and two brothers, Andile Skosana and Moemise Motsepe.
Fellow actress and close friend Florence Masebe posted a series of tweets and a photo remembering the life of Motsepe.
Official Isidingo @IsidingoSABC3: Today we mourn the loss of Lesego Motsepe, Isidingo’s former Lettie. Having touched our hearts and lives, may she rest in peace.
Sbu Mpungose @SbuMpungose: As a young entertainment journo I remember being absolutely star struck by #LesegoMotsepe’s beauty, grace and talent. You’ll be missed.
Relebogile Mabotja @RelebogileM: Just heard the sad news of the passing of Lesego Motsepe. Phenomenal woman. Beautiful spirit. May your soul RIP. Condolences to the family.
Onkgopotse JJ Tabane @JJTabane: Lesego Motsepe has passed on. She was found dead by her brother this morning in Randburg. May her soul rest in peace. Gone too soon.
Thandeka @lambospider: May her soul rest in peace! This is sad,
Delusional Chelle @Cchizzey: She just died alone in her flat. That breaks my heart :(
Samkelo Ndlovu @SamkeloNdlovu: RIP Lesego Motsepe who played Lettie Matabane on @IsidingoSABC3. Your cheerful spirit and kiddish laugh will be missed.
Jamie @Mrjim_my: Guys another sad one… Lesego Motsepe is dead. You might remember her from Isidingo. Great actress GONE TOO SOON. Fare Thee Well ma’am. - The Star