Kuli Roberts was a vocal supporter of LGBTIQ equality (Pic: Twitter)
Members of the LGBTIQ community are mourning the loss of multitalented journalist, author and media personality Kuli Roberts, and remembering her as a long-time queer ally.
South Africa was shocked by the death of the vibrant and outspoken 49-year-old on Wednesday night in Johannesburg after she collapsed on the set of her new show.
“It is with profound regret and sadness that we confirm the untimely passing of our dear daughter, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt Nomakula ‘Kuli’ Roberts,” said her devastated family in a statement.
Roberts started her career as a fashion and lifestyle journalist and editor, went on to host numerous television and radio shows and wrote the novel Siren. She was also an actor, appearing in series such as 2020’s The Queen and 2021’s Netflix movie, Angeliena.
Known for her humour and sometimes controversially sharp wit, Roberts was never afraid to speak her mind but espoused an ethos of care and compassion, especially for marginalised groups.
She was a vocal supporter of LGBTIQ equality and often condemned queerphobia and inequality on social media.
Roberts founded the non-profit initiative Happy Lesbian Thursday as a platform to raise awareness about gender-based violence and so-called corrective rape.
As part of the project, she hosted social gatherings and screenings of LGBTIQ films, such as the banned Kenyan lesbian romance Rafiki and the acclaimed South African queer film Inxeba.
Her comment in a 2021 interview with podcaster MacG beautifully reflects the kind of person Roberts was. In closing the conversation, he asked her what she wanted to be remembered for.
Roberts replied: “I don’t want to be remembered. I want you guys to just look after each other. I want you to look after the people that are downtrodden on… I want you to look after the people with albinism, I want you to look after the LGBTI community, I need you to look after black people…”
Kuli Roberts leaves behind her two children, a grandchild, her parents and three siblings. May she rest in peace and in power.