HE was known as Rasta, because of his love of that genre of music. And though he was not a practising Rastafarian, he enjoyed the nickname.

It probably saved him from pronouncing his tongue-twisting but exotic names of Makondelela Matodzi Gerson Ramutovholwa. Yet, what belied his musical moniker was an action-packed life lived in the service of his country and people.

They say Rastas never die. Which perhaps explains why it is that family, friends, neighbours and comrades are struggling to come to terms with the news that Ramutovholwa is no more. Bringing a tragic twist to the death of Rasta, is that he died just three days before he would have celebrated his 50th birthday on Tuesday.

To all intents and purposes, the Diepkloof Zone 2-born Ramutovholwa could have lived his life strictly as an artist, dabbling only in both performing and creative art. His talents on stage first came to the fore back in the 1980s when he was a pupil at Tshiemuemu Secondary School in Venda.

As well as being a core founder of the Tshakhuma Dramatic Society, Ramutovholwa was a marvel to behold on stage, especially when he played the part of a calculative character called Maraka in the musical I Did.

On the creative side, Ramutovholwa could create outstanding and breathtaking works of art, especially using an ingenious method of placing match sticks to overlay his crafted moulds.

But it is in matters civic and sociopolitical that Ramutovholwa will be sorely missed by his comrades and community, especially that of ward 28, also known as the Moses Kotane branch of the ANC/SACP.

Selfless and ever willing to go the extra mile for the community, Ramutovholwa lived by a simple dictum. “Stop complaining and participate,” he would say to those whingeing about service delivery or dissing the ANC.

At the time of his death he had been voted in as branch chairman of SACP ward 28 in Soweto.

With his deep baritone voice, Rasta was a people’s magnet, attracting young and old who were soothed and found solace in someone with an altruistic spirit.

Ramutovholwa is survived by his wife Constance. He will be buried in Venda tomorrow at his Tshakhuma Village. Transport has been organised to ferry mourners to the funeral and will leave from 2904 Zone 2 Diepkloof tonight.

Zwi khodo zwa vhanya.