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SAD: Kuli Roberts Laid To Rest

Close family and friends attended the private funeral ceremony of late media personality Nomakula Cynthia ‘Kuli’ Roberts in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“Both the Roberts and the Mboya family are deeply thankful for the immense support from across the nation over the past few days. They have planned a small intimate gathering for her send-off, ” the family statement read.

Media colleagues and loved ones gathered yesterday for a special memorial for Roberts, who passed away last week Wednesday after suffering a seizure onset. She was 49 years old.

The funeral service started with prayer and praise songs from the Pretoria Methodist Church. Robert’s son, Leaun said he has struggled to collect his thoughts and process the tragedy of his mother’s death.

“My mother was the woman that shaped my sister (Thembela) and me to the adults that we are today.”

He added his mother was more than an editor, an actress or columnist and that he was “filled” with joy after her memorial because of the kind words from the entertainment fraternity.

This allowed him to accept her passing and celebrate Kuli’s life.

Leaun shared some memories of how his mother was supportive to them throughout their upbringing: “My mom was picking me up in that spiderman suit of hers, there’s a lot of stories like that, and how she cheered me on during my rugby games even though I wasn’t the best rugby player,” he joked.

Broadcaster Criselda Kandana was emotional during her speech, remembering her as a close friend, a person who was consistent in telling her story and took her journalism work seriously.

“She made sure why she was here. She was such a giver, you would never walk out without a gift. I truly understand now that she is our gift, she is the gift that God had given us…

“Hers was a once in a lifetime kind of friendship, what a diamond, heaven has indeed gained an angel.”

Kandana said Kuli’ activism was important to her, and building a platform to highlight injustices that different types of people experienced.

The former SABC radio host added that Kuli’s welcome party to heaven would be hosted by past legends such Brenda Fassie, Bob Mabena and Lebo Mathosa.

Award-winning singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka explained her and Kuli’s friendship wasn’t natural, but that they eventually got close over the years.

Often taking the risker side of her writing, Chaka Chaka said people didn’t hate Kuli – she was just “mischievous” but not miscellaneous.

“It takes being different to make a difference. You don’t have to be liked or accepted or respected by anyone. Your assignment is different from anyone else’s, you stayed focused on your mission and always trusted in God,” she concluded.

Other speakers mentioned what a proud grandmother she was, as well as her work for the LGBTQIA community, albinism and gender-based violence groups, leaving a “shining legacy”.

Kuli’s father said she loved making people laugh, and extended an invitation for transport minister Fikile Mbalula to pay his last respects as a friend.

Mbalula said Kuli directly complained to him about service delivery, the state of the country and to sort out the driver’s licence delays.

The minister said he and Kuli communicated often and he missed her call last week and was unaware she was going through a tough time. He concluded that his friend never held grudges.

Other familiar faces in attendance were Unathi Nkayi, Thomas Msengana and actress and sister Hlobi Mboya.

Watch: Kuli Roberts funeral service

Roberts has been remembered as a trailblazer and over the years, working at publications such as Fair Lady, Drum, You Magazine, Pace and the tabloid Sunday World.

Roberts has hosted shows such as ‘What Not to Wear’, ‘Real Goboza’, ‘Trending SA’ and her own show ‘Headline!’ which is currently available on Showmax.

She also worked in radio, with her most notable appointment to date has been at Kaya FM where she worked with the likes of the late Bob Mabena.

During the memorial service, Sonia Motaung took to the podium to share some memories she had with Kuli while working with her at Sunday World.

Sonia explained that when Roberts arrived at the publication, she was given her own blog called Bitch’s Brew, which was supposed to run for a period of four weeks.

Once the four weeks were up, the journalist was awarded the blog for a long-term period, which she excelled in for many years.

Kaya FM radio host and comedian Skhumba Hlophe shared his admiration for how she lived truthfully throughout her life. and did not care about the opinions of others

Hlophe advised all guests who attended the memorial service to live a carefree and honest life which mirrored the life of the media personality.