Beat It - Siyayinqoba Presenter / HIV Activist Jason Wessenaar-Moloatsi Murdered

Former SABC 1 presenter of Siyayinqoba - Beat It (between 2004 and 2005) and activist in the fight against HIV AIDS in South Africa, Jason Wessenaar-Moloatsi was killed in his home in Pretoria this weekend. 

In 2004, antiretroviral treatment became available in South Africa through the public health system and the doors of the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, South Africa's national broadcaster, were opened to CHMT. 


A 26 part series was produced in co-production with SABC and was called Siyayinqoba. It highlighted stories such as that of HIV positive high school learner Linda Pindani, who was intent on entering into manhood through a traditional Xhosa circumcision ceremony. 

Pindani at this stage had however also progressed to stage four of the disease, and his compromised immune system meant that he had to make tough decisions around this rite of passage.

That was the starting point for the show that has now become a support group and source of information via the medium of television to help South Africans infected and affected by the pandemic 

The show's presenter Jason Wessenaar tested HIV positive more than ten years ago and over the past decade had dedicated his life to helping in the fight against the pandemic through his work on Siyayinqoba and various NGOs.

Going public with his HIV status was a carefully considered decision as it affected not only himself, but his loved ones too, he would tell anybody who asked about his reasons for disclosure.

Jason was however determined to stop the stigmatisation of HIV Positive people and believed the stigmatisation is only motivated by the lack of interest in young South Africans on getting tested for the disease.

He decided to get more involved and to spread hope, knowledge and positivity about HIV and AIDS. And through all of this, saved countless lives. Unfortunately, his was going meet a violent end.

Reports of Jason's passing started pouring in yesterday but I am always weary of taking anything I read on Facebook seriously. People have been "cyber-murdered" a lot on social media.

Today the information was confirmed that Jason was fatally stabbed in his house in Proclamation Hill, Pretoria. Reports are that there were no signs of forced entry when his body was discovered. 

I did not know Jason personally but he was my friend on Facebook and we have chatted a few times. I have been familiar with his work for quiet some time since I learned about it while I was a contributor on Robin Malan's column on Exit.

Tributes continue to pour in for this champion in Mzansi...

Murdered for being an HIV activist & NON HETORESEXUAL "Jason- Wessenaar- Molaotsi" !!!! what happened to our Democratic right of Freedom ?!?
Steve Letsike on Jason's Facebook wall writes;
I am hurting......how did we get to this point Jason Wessenaar-Moloatsi, how can people be so cruel. I am so hurt, I am so pissed off. Jason my friend, robala ka kgotso......go bohloko mo pelong.....
Jason has touched a lot of people directly and indirectly. Franco Mdu Nksi nostalgicaly remembers him by ssharing this with his fellow Facebookers;  
U blivd in me, u taught me a lot abt life. Whn I gav up on my life u were there for me, whn I thought I was a failure, u gavel me million reasons to Blv in myslf. I will truely miss u. I will pass all d lessons u gave me 
We lost an activist an a brother, death has stolen a brother from us. RIP jas :(
Clearly words can not begin to describe the sadness and sense of helplessness many young South Africans are feeling right now with this rampant crime in our country. Where are we supposed to feel safe if we are now being murdered in our own homes?

South Africa has lost a soldier, a pioneer, a brother and a son to this nation not just human rights and HIV/AIDS activist .

When asked to comment on SABC 1's popular groundbreaking series - Intersexions, on Episode 12 which was about a married man Jake having an extra-marital affair with another man - Mac, Jason said;
"While Jake and Mac may habitually practise safe sex, in reality they have been putting themselves – and their lovers – at risk of contracting HIV through their happy-go-lucky lifestyle,  
It is a fact that multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships are a significant contributor to the spread of HIV in South Africa, and Jake and Mac therefore live risky lifestyles. In the previous episode, too, it became clear that Jake enjoys using recreational drugs in conjunction with casual sex, which is an additional risk factor. 
But by deciding to commit to each other, Jake and Mac are taking an important step in ensuring their own sexual health and general wellbeing. And they are ultimately taking a concrete step to being part of the solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Love does conquer all – and that’s a powerful message for us all to appreciate,” 
Let's hope his vision for a positive life for people living with HIV and his fight to help those who are not infected to stay that way will be realised through every single one of you reading this. Jason may be gone but you are here so spread the word, better yet - start with YOU!

Equip yourself with the knowledge you need and share that knowledge with your fellow brothers and sisters.

Let's keep Jason alive by saving ourselves and others, pity we could not save him.


Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; 
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.

Do not stand at my grave and mourn.
I am the dew-flecked grass at dawn.
Where tranquil oceans meet the land
I am the footprints in the sand
To guide you through the weary day.
I am still here; 
I'll always stay.

When you wake up to morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; 

I did not die.

17 comments:

Mametja said...

wow beautiful tribute Phil I didnt know he was a presenter. May his soul rest in peace even though I didn't know him well too. He sounds like he was a good guy. Everybody is shocked.

Anonymous said...

Nice tribute as usual you brought the human touch to the story. My only problem is that you do not mention that he was gay. We only see that on Lesego's comment.

Phil Mphela said...

A1,

That is because his sexuality has nothing to do with what I wanted to share with my readers about him.

I do not know if he was killed because of his sexuality so I can not comment on that.

I also do not know if he was gay as I have never met him or seen any quote from him where he says he is, therefore I could not touch on that either.

Anonymous said...

Vince M.

May his Beautiful Soul Rest in Peace!! A True soldier and Role Model never to be forgotten!

Keith R said...

I am a better human being today after reading some of Jason's proactive approach to shedding truth/light/humaness to a disease that consumes many, but is/should be a manageable disease with truth/honesty and a healthy respect for all humans, no matter their current situtation. Thank you Jason! Indulge me as I do wipe a few tears in honor of your contribution, in such a short time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey dude. I must say I like the way you always handle the gay thing. Being gay should not be the first label that people see when they talk about you. Jay was so many things that are worth mentioning. His personal life should be private. I love how you always say that you are Phil and not gay. Right now some people are making this a "gay murder" which I feel will take away attention from the good that Jay has done for the community.

Maybe he was gay but he was a human being first. Thank you for a beautiful tribute abuti Phil. Please continue to do the beautiful work you do. You inspire many of us to be ourselves without the label. I have learned a lot from your blog about life, love and pigs having 30 min orgasms. LOL!!

Merry christmas to you and your family.

Phil Mphela said...

A3,

I had to delete that comment. My sexuality and Jay's has nothing to do with this article.

Someone's son, brother and friend has died can we leave the silly rumours and gossip out of it.

Steve Letsike said...

thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil.

I knew Jason personally n was one of the few ppl to share a space with hm on the day of his passing. He had hosted 8 friends for Xmas dinner @ his house.

Jason was an amazing person. I jst don't knw wat kind of a creature could commit such a horrible thing. Taking such a beautiful soul from us. I still cnt believe he's gone. It feels lyk a dream. I've been reading our last conversation on BBM, how he gave me advice when I was feeling down. How I nearly missed his dinner n he begged me to come.

The nation has lost a soldier. How cn sum1 so full of life jst get taken away lyk dis. What has da world come to?

May Jason's soul rest in peace. U will always b in our hearts n mind my friend. Good tyms n memories will see us through.

lebo ramafoko said...

I do not remember when and how I met Jason, but I remember each encounter I had with him. He was always warm and gentle. He treated everyone with care and respect. He was a true activist, who lived out his ideals. I cannot say he was my best friend but I know that I loved him dearly. It is too soon for me to say goodbye or rest in peace brcause it has not sunk in yet that he is indeed gone. I pray that his family, colleagues, friends find a way to make peace with his untimely death. And thank you for writing this piece about him.

Criselda Kananda said...

Jason contributed a great deal to my self-acceptance and my quest to dispel the stereotypes around HIV. He was amongst very few people who disclosed his status and made it his mission to create enabling environment for millions of people around the world to deal with self-stigma. “I don’t introduce myself as ‘Hi, I’m Jason. I’m HIV positive.’ I’m not defined by that. When I talk, I talk from my own experience and it’s not scripted or censored.” He was amongst regular contributors on Metro FM’s Positive Talk. For A human rights activist, to die as if he had no right to life is beyond evil. Thank you Phil, this is a deserving tribute of an intelligent, purposeful and powerful soul.

Anonymous said...

May his soul rest in peace. Phil good, and well written coverage. Keep it up

Anonymous said...

The difference he made is huge. Phil since reading your coverages etc I would say this one is my absolute best. Its written very very very well. He would have been proud as well. Keep on informing us with your great writing skills.

kedibone said...

Wht de hell is wrong in SA,wil de fight against HIV stigma ever be won?When sum1 cums out nd publically declares his HIV status is like bin sentenced to death.Hel its nt people of same sexual orientation who are infected;even de heterosexuals are.So y prejudice against gays nd lesbians.Dis leaves a bitter taste in evry normal human beings mouth.

holissess said...

I have never been this sad and shocked at the same time.

Everything that is said here is so true, I have always watched the show and this year I finally met him at an NSP meeting in Boksburg.

He is someone you look and liusten to his wisdom and think 'is he from earth'. Phenomenal person indeed, RIP Jay!

Aluta Continua'Siyayinqoba

Anonymous said...

Why do we always talk nice about dead people (just a general question). This is not intended to Mama Jay.

I've been a lot of funerals but I've never heard people talk bad about the deceased.

Is it because we feel sad or are lying to ourselves? Or maybe we will be judged by telling the truth?

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