Speaking to REPORTFOCUS outside Mafela’s house in Kew‚ his niece Millicent ‘Milly’ Mulelu said the entire family was in shock.
“The family is still in deep shock at the death. It was unexpected and we thought that we would at least have him around for a little while longer‚” she said.
Millicent explained that when they received the phone call in the early hours of Sunday morning, it felt like a dream.
“Joe’s side of the car was untouched in the accident so for us to then find out that he had died was a massive shock‚ but we are a praying family and we have been praying for strength and understanding in the hours since the accident‚” she aded.
Millicent spoke fondly of her uncle‚ who she will remember as the person‚ who always made everyone laugh.
She recounted how happy Mafela was went he went on a family trip last month.
“Joe went on a boat cruise with some members of the family earlier this month and was surrounded by fans who wanted to take pictures with him. He was so happy and relaxed and we did not doubt for a second that he was in a good space.”
Millicent added that as a family they knew he was loved by the entire nation and was grateful for the love the country showed him.
“We want the nation to know that he worked hard for them and thank them for the love they have given him. We understood that we shared him with the nation and we are grateful to them for embracing him.”
Mafela’s funeral details are yet to be finalised.
Mafela died after being involved in a collision on the M1 North in Johannesburg on Saturday night. A culpable homicide investigation is currently underway.