Lesego Motsepe was found dead at her home in Randburg, South Africa on Monday. Motsepe starred on SABC3‘s popular television soap opera, “Isidingo”, from 1998 to 2008. Playing the role of Letti Mattabane, she was adored by fans. Lesego Motsepe, 39, also revealed a secret prior to her death. The beautiful South African actress had been living with HIV since 1998.
Motsepe was discovered lying dead in her flat by her brother, Moemise Motsepe. Her death is being called by paramedics a result of “natural causes”.
Lesego Motsepe became a champion for HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day in 2011 when she announced to the world she had been battling HIV for over 13 years. Even more profound was her role as an AIDS activist for many years. As a public speaker and entertainer, she took her fame as an opportunity to make her nation aware of the realities of the disease.
“If it’s positive, do something about it. Don’t dig your grave because you are still alive,” she told reporters at the time of her announcement.
Mostepe sparked controversy in 2012 when she announced that she had stopped antiretroviral therapy in favor of a herbal therapeutic approach to HIV. Antiretroviral therapy is the most advanced form of medicine designed to help patients battle an HIV positive diagnosis. But against her doctors advice, Lesego Motsepe dared to go the herbal route. Former South African health minister “Manto” Tshabalala-Msimang was known for suggesting a beetroot-garlic diet in lieu of antiretroviral therapy. Some speculate it was because of his suggestion that South Africa suffered such a high HIV incidence and mortality rate during his time in office.
Lesego Motsepe was loved by fans and the HIV community, even if they didn’t agree with her decision to stop treatment at the end of her life. She will be missed by many as another voice for AIDS awareness passes away today.
Deeply saddened by the news that Lesego Motsepe has passed away. She was a talented actress, good friend and excellent soul. May she RIP!
— Tumisho Masha (@TumishoMasha) January 20, 2014
— True Love Mag (@TrueLoveMag) January 20, 2014
Our dear friend and sister Lesego Motsepe has passed away. We wish her soul peace. She was brave, funny, smart, compassionate.
— Real Magazine (@RealMagazineza) January 20, 2014
Shocked & sad to learn of the passing of a friend, fellow poet and beautiful spirit Lesego Motsepe. I loved you sister.. #RIPLesegoMotsepe
— Khanyi Magubane (@Khanyi_Magubane) January 20, 2014