Marietjie ‘Intombi Yomzulu’ Bothma dies at 39

Marietjie Bothma in an interview with Newzroom Afrika: Picture: Supplied

Marietjie Bothma in an interview with Newzroom Afrika: Picture: Supplied

Published May 30, 2023


Marietjie Bothma, the iconic South African TV personality, radio broadcaster, and comedian, died on Monday, May 29, after a long illness.

Two weeks ago, Bothma travelled from her home in Thembisa to her close friend Thabang Mochela's home in the Vaal to “rest” not knowing that these would be the last days the two friends would spend together.

On Tuesday, May 30, radio station Sauma HD Radio, where Bothma delighted thousands of listeners with her quick wit, issued a statement confirming her death.

“It is with sadness that we announce that one of our radio family presenters, Marietjie Bothma, passed on today May 29. Lala ngoxolo Sisi Marietjie Bothma. Good night,” the statement read.

Marietjie Bothma was hailed as lively and enjoyable by many. There's no disputing that the vibrant personality will be missed by South Africans from all walks of life.

She won the hearts of many with her fluency in Zulu and other South African languages, and she won the hearts of the nation when she starred in a pie commercial.

She had roles in several of Mzansi's most popular soap operas and gave an address at the inauguration of former President Jacob Zuma.

Bothma, a former member of the notorious KwaSizabantu Mission in KwaZulu-Natal, emerged as one of the courageous former members who testified about the mission's human rights violations.

Bothma revealed her childhood sexual and physical abuse in her distressing evidence before the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities in 2020.

Bothma revealed her childhood agony of being punished, including drinking pepper-infused water, for speaking out about the abuse.

While the mission had previously dismissed the abuse charges, attributing them to specific individuals rather than the mission as a whole, Bothma's testimony shed light on the systemic nature of the mistreatment she faced both at home and at the mission's school.

She boldly exposed her adoptive father's sexual assault, despite the mission's assertions that it was addressing the issue, by fleeing.

Tributes to Bothma came pouring in after news of her passing spread on social media. Publicist Zuza Mbatha wrote ”Ulale Ngokuthula Marietjie Bothma Intombi emhlophe yomZulu”.

Nkiyase Mondlana Mbatha wrote “Rest In Peace my friend, Marietjie Bothma #ripmarietjiebothma”.

Writer Loyiso Lindani said, “I’m hearing that the legendary Marietjie Bothma is no more. What a sad day. Yhooo this woman lived. I found her through TikTok and randomly a video of hers appeared on my timeline.

“In the video, she was sharing how she survived the most life-changing events of her life. I was amazed and I’m so thankful God made it possible for us to meet in person. I’m sad for her daughter and family. What a deeply moving life story, may she fly with the angels.”