Today marks the 16th year since I lost my father in the tragic stampede at the Ellis Park stadium during a football match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
As I watched from my home, injured and lifeless bodies were carried out onto the football pitch, little did I realise that my father would be one of 43 lives lost that night.
I don’t have many memories of my dad, but I will always remember how much he loved his Orlando Pirates, perhaps so much so that he even died for the game.
Last year, however, a good Samaritan, Mr. Herbert Mensah, former chairman of Asante Kotoko and current President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) invited Ntlakanipho Zulu (who lost both his parents at the stampede) and myself to Ghana.
We were invited to partake in a commemoration event that sought to honour and remember, not only the Ellis Park event, but also the 127 lives lost during a league game between the Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, in Ghana which happened a month after the April 11 incident.
This was only time I stopped mourning and celebrated my father’s life and his love for football.
I know it is long overdue but I hope this time next year, the families of the victims will join hands in celebrating our fallen loved ones together.
To my father, Steven Modise Tshetlo, robala ka kagiso.
Here’s to remembering the other 42 people who today are no longer with us, wishing their families love, light and healing.
Madikana Samuel Selepe, 39, Diepsloot
Johannes Mandla Mthembu, 36, Palm Springs, Vaal
Johannes Motlasi Letsoara, 35, Potchefstroom
Sphiwa Esrome Mpungose, 13, Burgersdale, West Rand
Ivan Jeffrey Bezuidenhout, 39, Potchefstroom
Mbulelo Diniso, 25, Orlando East
Veleta Eunice Mouton, 26, Windmill Park, East Rand
Rosswin Andre Nation, 11, Ennerdale Pretty
Lephina Phatsisi, 26, Balfour
Jabu Maliyon Mkhize, 33, Delmas
Alpheus Sethlake, 41, Alexandra
Gideon Mudau, 34, Kromdraai, Midrand
Jabulisile Xaba, 25, Berea, Johannesburg
Danny Tigerls, 30, Pietersburg
Angelina Mncube, 28, Joubert Park, Johannesburg
Callistus Dumisani Dube, 29, Balfour Park, Johannesburg
Mduduzi Thomo, 27, Jabulani, Soweto
Tsietsi Daniel Wae, 54, Kagiso
Michael Tsolo Nyakane, 41, Orkney
Steven Modise Tshetlo, 42, Delpark, East Rand
Calvin Arnolds, 34, Ennerdale
Lefa James Lefera, Gauteng
Rakgabo Frans Shongoane, 34, Pretoria
Ernest Mandla Moyo, 33, Berea, Johannesburg
John Oupa Mbambata, 34, Delareyville
Deborah Selina Maphanga, 25, Duduza
Thandi Merrium Thabethe, 23, Standerton
Abel Tshabangu, 35, Diepkloof, Soweto
Elias Ngomane, 21, Johannesburg
Nkosana Elliot Hlongwane, 40, Katlehong
Nhlanhla Meshack Zulu, 30, Duduza
Raymond Mfana Gwala, 47, Zamdela
Senki Jacob Mzizi, 47, Tsakane
Stanley Tshikovhi, Tembisa
Selaala Pae Maloma, Schoononborg
Gugu Majozi, Jabulani, Soweto
Maggie Luthuli, Protea Glen, Soweto
Robert Molako, Atteridgeville
Kenneth Msimango, Thokoza
Frans More, Dobsonville
Jabulane Raymond Baloi, Tembisa
Bafana Isaac Mabuza, Tembisa
Mampo Rinah Ntsoane, Berea, Johannesburg
Mmakgomo is a Digital Content Producer at 702 and CapeTalk.
This article first appeared on 702 : Remembering #EllisPark43