Pretoria - An avid reader and writer, and also a die-hard fan of Mamelodi Sundowns, the late Kgati Sathekge was yesterday described as nothing short of great by his family.
The former Pretoria News journalist died after collapsing at his West Park, Pretoria, home on Sunday.
According to his family, who were visibly distraught yesterday, Sathekge had been battling diabetes.
The condition forced him to take early retirement from his last job as communications officer at the Department of Social Development.
Fighting back tears, his daughter Dineo said her father valued education. She said he was relentless in his support to make sure his daughters received the best education.
“He used to wake me up at 5am to study,” she said.
Dineo said her father would be remembered as a journalist reporting on the front lines in a critical time in the nation's history, covering apartheid events.
“He was such a sucker for knowledge and history. I've seen many media reports by him that indicated he had a firm stance in the fight against apartheid.”
His widow Millicent browsed through his photos while she related some of the best moments with him.
“I remember how much he loved home-cooked meals. He loved mogodu and dumpling so much. That was the meal I cooked for him when I needed something,” she said with a slight smile.
Another highlight was his love for Sundowns - no one dared to interrupt him when the team was in action.
“He loved Sundowns so much that when he collapsed and died he was wearing the team’s T-shirt,” she said.
Born in Atteridgeville, Sathekge was active in organising students in the Pretoria area in response to the police brutality against the 1976 student uprisings.
Like many students of that time, he was in and out of prison as the security police tried to suppress protests.
Millicent described him as a dedicated professional and a father who became a bridge between the media and the community, helping break boundaries in providing a voice and representation.
While studying theology at Rhodes University, he joined the ANC underground movement and went into exile in 1980, first to Swaziland and then Mozambique.
Sathekge studied in Michigan, US, where he earned a BA degree in journalism and worked for the ANC.
He returned to South Africa and worked in the communications directorate of the Department of Social Welfare. He took an early retirement because of his poor health.
“It was really getting bad. He was even starting to lose his sight, but nonetheless he bought newspapers every day. We even fought about it every day because it was expensive to buy all the newspapers, every day,” Dineo said.
He is survived by two daughters, his wife, grandchildren, two brothers and six sisters.
“While we mourn his loss, we hope that his legacy will serve as an inspiration and a beacon to his fellow colleagues, his community and the people he has touched for many years,” Millicent said.