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MONTY Makgala, my dearest brother with whom I shared virtually everything since birth, left this world just the way he lived in it – peacefully.
His gratitude, humility and generosity by far describes his best attributes as a friend, brother, father, uncle and son to his mother, Angelina.
Makgala, or Abuti (Tswana for elder brother) as we affectionately called him, died in my arms at home just after 10.30pm last Sunday. He was 52.
In August last year, he spent weeks at Ferncrest Hospital in Tlhabane, Rustenburg, a stone’s throw from his home in Geelhoutpark, where he had lived since the 1990s.
Being the elder brother, Makgala revelled in his role as the wisest of us all.
Never once did he disappoint. He was the first to acquire a tertiary education when he graduated from Hebron Training College with a teacher’s diploma while in his early twenties – a rare feat considering that in the early 1980s, it was normal to find a 24-year-old in a matric class.
He excelled in mathematics and science and although he tried extremely hard to bring me up to speed with the subjects, I was so hopeless that he once wondered what kind of brain I had.
When he started teaching, he spent his initial earnings on the family.
He took youngest sister Lerato to boarding school and took in elder brother Geoffrey to live with him in Madikwe where he was teaching.
He bought me school uniforms and enhanced my sense of belonging.
Every month-end when he got paid, we all knew that he would arrive with groceries – and meat, a rarity at the time.
His middle name was Seth, a name he was given after our grandfather, who was relatively educated and worked as a clerk for the local traditional authority, now known as the Royal Bafokeng Administration.
Makgala’s mid-career years until his death were spent as a principal at Lentswe Primary School in Moshaneng outside Zeerust, North West.
He spent almost 20 years there and everybody in the village, from the local chief to the lowest commoner, esteemed him.
Makgala also excelled in choral music and never once did he miss schools’ music competitions where he was a famous conductor and won many trophies.
He battled cancer and finally succumbed to it.
Thank you for the wonderful times, the fond moments and your calming presence. Thank you for volunteering a cow at my wedding, ensuring that my special days would be truly memorable.
Fare thee well, my dearest brother. You were truly the best, Lesoko.
l Makgala will be buried tomorrow in Phokeng.