On the 25th of July 1987 Boitumelo Arabella McCallum, affectionately known as “Tumi,” was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her name, Boitumelo, which means happiness, epitomizes the way she lived her life and the way she made those who were acquainted with her feel. Her brief but energetic life left a profound mark on all who knew her and the outpouring of love and grief at her death, on August 2nd , has been overwhelming.
She attended Manor House Primary School in Durban and later Brooklyn Primary School in Pretoria. She moved with her family to New York City in 1999, attended Greenwich Village Middle School, and graduated from Beacon High School in 2005. Tumi was awarded a “Presidential Scholarship” to study at Mills College in Oakland, California where she majored in Political, Legal, Economic Analysis (PLEA). She had completed her sophomore year at the time of her death.
Tumi was an avid dancer and natural artist.
She began ballet at the age of four and was a junior model in South Africa. Tumi expressed her creativity in many forms, excelling in dance classes at Berkeley and teaching young students during the recent summer break. In her younger days she was a Sunday school teacher in both Pretoria and New York where she spent a lot of time with the young kids. Her capacity to engage in a meaningful and intellectual way with others led her to travel to Cuba and Spain where she worked with research, educational, and development agencies.
Tumi was raised in a close, loving, and supportive family. Her cousins Odirile, Ketso, and Zizi were like brothers and sisters to her and she was just getting to know her youngest cousins, Obakeng and Moagi. She is survived by her mother, Teboho Moja and father, Robert McCallum, brothers Kabelo and Lebohang, aunts Mpule and Thebi, uncles Tshepo and Tiisetso, her grandmother Margaret Moja and the McCallum Family.
Boitumelo Arabella McCallum, your untimely departure from this world has saddened us all, but your generosity of spirit and warmth will remain with us always.