"It is well" : an ode to karabo

Lebo Thoka


South Africa

Project Description:

This body of work is a self-portrait photographic series that aims to document various stories of South African women across economic backgrounds,ethnicities & races who have fallen victim to the scourge of Femicide in South Africa. The body of work incorporates a mainly conceptual photographic approach in each portrait. Each title of each portrait in the series is the name of the deceased woman, & the description has each woman’s age as well as the events that led to each woman’s demise.

Artist’s statement:

This body of work is inspired by Karabo Mokoena, a 22 year old God fearing young woman who was the victim of abuse at the hands of her partner and who was brutally murdered and her body burned beyond recognition in a shallow grave. She, like many women in this country have been failed by a society and a justice system that does not prioritize the violence women face in the hands of abusive men on a daily basis. The South African justice system does not prioritise the protection of women when it is necessary, but only when it is beneficiary to it. Patriarchy is the puppeteer and women are its puppets.

Men have failed us.

South Africa has failed us.

Despite the overwhelming violence we face,women are not defined by the violence that cloaks us. We are not defined by the failures of the South African justice system. We are not the cloth that men wipe their mistakes onto and discard. We will not be defined by a society that fuels its engines with our blood and props itself up with our bones.

We are the sum of the power and potential that society tries so hard to beat out of us.

We might bend but we will never break.

We will overcome.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • Title : Karabo Mokoena
    Description: 22 years old, stabbed by her ex-boyfriend 27 times, set on fire and discarded onto a dumpsite.

  • Title: Hannah Cornelius
    Description: 21 years old, Hijacked, beaten with bricks, raped, stabbed several times and strangled to death.

  • Title : Nonhle Charmaine Mbonambi
    Description: 24 years old, stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend, and left 3 children behind.

  • Title: Unknown woman
    Description: Murdered and discarded onto a dumpsite in Mofolo.

  • Title: Jeanette Cindi-Mabitsela
    Description: 34 years old, Five months pregnant, raped, stoned, doused in petrol and set alight by a gang of taxi drivers.

  • Title: Reeva Steenkamp
    Description; 29 years old, shot 3 times by her boyfriend on Valentine's’ Day.

  • Title: Sinoxolo Mafevuka
    Description; 19 years old, found naked, murdered and thrown into a communal toilet.

  • Title: Thembisile Yende
    Description: 30 years old, went missing after exposing illegal dealings in copper at Eskom. Her decomposed body was found in an office. She was drugged, beaten and strangled.

  • Title: Bongeka Phungula
    Description: 28 years old, found murdered and discarded onto a dumpsite in Tladi with gunshot wounds in her head.