Doing God’s work with handcuffs by day and hymns at night

Everson Luhanga

Hawks investigator Esther Makgamatha has worked on high profile cases and arrested many criminals – including former colleagues. 

Among her many achievements was the arrest of 17 police officers at OR Tambo Airport in a drug sting.

But Esther from Soshanguve in Tshwane is more than a hardworking police officer. 

She’s also an award-winning gospel musician. 

“I serve God’s purpose. My life’s weapon is not only a firearm. I also use the Bible and my voice,” she said.

“I save people from criminals by investigating cases and arresting perpetrators and I also save souls through my healing and hymns.”

Known to her fans as Pebetsi, Esther said her first award came when her high school teachers awarded her for being the lead vocalist in the assembly choir.

“From then on, I knew that I had a talent and I was gifted,” she said.

Pebetsi said she finished her school and police training before reviving her music career with the release of her album, Kabelo yaka in 2006.

“The SABC shot a music video for me and it received a lot of airplay which gave a lot of exposure.” 

Pebetsi released her second album, Re a lwana (“we are in war”) in 2008. 

“The title track is my all-time hit song. People can’t get enough of the track,” she said.

Her third album, Through it all, released in 2018, came after a painful divorce.

The album was nominated in three categories at the Ingoma awards for best female artist, song of the year and best album.

Pebetsi will be in the studio to record her fourth album in April.

The mother of two believes that being a police officer investigating cases is her calling. 

“I love being a cop. I bring peace by removing criminals from society,” she said. 

“I also love instilling hope, faith, healing and peace through my music.”