On Monday, the late Motswako rapper, Thuto ‘Ricardo’ Ramphaleng popularly known as Dramaboi’s mother Boitumelo Ramaphaleng schocked the nation after revealing that her son died due to an illness caused by HIV. She was speaking at his memorial service at Molapo Crossing in Gaborone.
This revelation caused mixed emotions among the star’s fans and the nation at large. The revelation came after viral posts and comments on Dramaboi’s Facebook page and various social media platforms where people bashed the late rapper's mother for abandoning her son and having not reached out to him till his demise. Many blamed her for her son’s death while others accused her of using her son’s death to seek funds.
Prior her revelation, others had even demanded to be told the cause of the Sala Le Nna hit maker's death. After feeling the pressure, Dramaboi’s bereaved mother ended up giving the public what they had longed for. However, the decision was not taken well by the public either, unfortunately ,she was roasted for publicly disclosing her late son’s HIV status ’without his consent.’ Many felt that since the star himself did not disclose his status to the public his mother had no right to do so despite the fact that he had passed away.
Many still concentrated on the star’s old posts from as back as 2019 which revealed how Dramaboi's family did not support or care about him especially his won mother. However, Boitumelo made it clear to the public that she had always been part of her deceased son’s life from day one until the day he passed on. Even though their relationship seemed rocky, it is clear that the duo loved each other immensely and always kissed and made up.
In a video shared by his sister Katlego Ramphaleng who is also known as Black Rose, Dramaboi wa Makeishane said a lot. He even told his sister and friends that he lost everything including hope. He added that he wanted to go back home. He even affectionately spoke of the wisdom he learnt from his mother. In her new song dedicated to her late brother titled Baengele, Katlego stated that her brother apologized to their mother and died a happy man.
During his burial ceremony held in Mochudi on Tuesday, her sister Agisanyang ‘DJ Mimi’ Ramphaleng said her brother was a stubborn man. She explained that despite their efforts to try getting him some help, Dramaboi in most cases refused saying he was a celebrity and therefore did not want people to see him in public transport or at local clinics. Agisanyang however pointed out that in some instances he agreed but in most cases he would refuse because of his social status. She said it was sad that even though they tried with everything they could to get him some help he ended up losing his life.
In an interview with different local HIV activists, they gave different opinions regarding the matter. Pako Botsaapoo, said people are living in a society where HIV is most feared unlike cancer which leads to people stigmatizing thosewho have the disease. He added that Dramaboi’s mother’s comment brought a big concern on his side and showed how Batswana still negatively react when they hear that one is living with HIV. Botsaapoo said negative comments about Dramaboi’s girlfriend and child made people to begin to question their HIV status.
“This incident also shows that our society does not even understand that one can live with an HIV positive person without having to infect their partners or have healthy HIV negative children. Based on a couple of posts I saw people beginning to question the girlfriend’s status so as the child. This really showed that stigma is still there behind the shadows and Batswana continue to show it on different occasions even though we used to think that we overcame it. This shows that our society does not even understand that one can live with an HIV positive person without having to infect their partners or have health HIV negative children,” he said.
He added that living with HIV was not a walk in the park as people living with HIV still get isolated at government hospitals during their check up. He added that this instilled fear on people who just got diagnosed or whom have not accepted their status. Botsaapoo said some people tend to judge them when seeing them walk into the Infection Disease Care Clinic (IDCC) department when seeking medical attention. He added that some have decided to just default because of the isolation they face at the health facilities. He however advised those living with HIV to be strong, walk tall and not be ashamed of their HIV status adding that they are greater than HIV.
For her part, Bonosi Segadimo said even though some people saw Dramaboi’s mother revealing his status as stigmatizing her son to her she saw a loving mother who cared about her son. She said after seeing that her son was not well, she insisted on taking him to the doctor. Segadimo said because Dramaboi was in denial, he started hating his mother to the extend of chasing her when she tried to check on him then wrote bad things about her so that no one could listen to her.
“Stigma is seen on the comments of Botswana, they show us how they are still ignorant on accepting self status, how they attack that woman really shows how they are still living in denial. They sow us that instead of supporting the mother now they already labeling baby mamas and children as HIV positive just because of the baby daddy. Fa go boiwa ka botshelo jwa moswi, batho ba lekodisiwa gore motho o lwetse lebaka le le kae ebile a lwala eng, mentioning other diseases such as diabetes, cancer and others its okay,” she said.