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A life well lived



MASERU – A life lived well.
This is how speaker after speaker described the life of Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) veteran, Tšeliso Makhakhe, who died on February 2.
He was 94.  Makhakhe, a former BCP leader during Lesotho’s troubled times when the party broke into several chips forming splinters such as the Basutoland African Congress and the Basutoland African National Congress in the early 2000s. Makhakhe died six days before his 95th birthday.

He died of a blood clot in the brain after suffering a stroke, according to a family spokesman.
He suffered the stroke after he received news of the death of his daughter, 44-year-old Ntebo Makhakhe, in December 2019.
He died at Scott Hospital in Morija, on the day one of his close friends former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had gone to see him only to be informed by the nurses that “your friend has left us”.
It is Mosisili who delivered the news to the family. With a voice trembling with emotion, his second born Lineo Makhakhe told thepost that the nonagenarian “cried like a child” after hearing of his young daughter’s death.

He had seven children but only five are still alive with nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Lineo said the doctor told her that her father was struck by a massive stroke.
She also said the doctor said even if Makhakhe was to be discharged he would live with the stroke forever so the family should expect death or a debilitating sickness.

She said it was very painful to see her father like that as he worked hard not only for them but for Lesotho as a country.
Speaking at a memorial service yesterday, Mosisili said Makhakhe was more than a friend but a father to him.
Mosisili said Makhakhe started to have health issues back in 1993 when he was diagnosed with high blood pressure.
He said later the same problem gave birth to heart problems.

He said Makhakhe was choosy on what he ate that is why he managed to live long.
He recalled in 1970 when they were in prison after Leabua Jonathan’s regime rounded up BCP leaders and threw them behind bars.
He said Makhakhe used to do exercises more than them yet they were younger than him.

He said after their release he used to go to South Africa to buy Makhakhe his medication in Bloemfontein.
He said Makhakhe used to enjoy writing a lot and one of his books is in the pipeline. Makhakhe, who was a Sesotho, English and Geography teacher at schools both in Lesotho and the country of his exile, Botswana, will be remembered for his contribution to Lesotho’s politics.

As an influential teacher he groomed many of his students to be staunch members of his BCP.
This explains why many members of the BCP’s armed wing, the Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) were students from Peka High School.
This is where he groomed the likes of Matsobane Putsoa, an accountant who zealously identified with the BCP during hard times even at the risk of losing his job at the national university.
One of his students was High Court judge, Justice Semapo Peete.
Putsoa said as schoolboys back then they used to call Makhakhe Mainama (always looking down), Castro or Litelu (beard) as he had long beard.
Growing a beard back then was associated with BCP affiliation.

He said Makhakhe used to teach them to pray every Wednesday and that stuck in their heads forever.
He said during political rallies Makhakhe used to allow them to be part of the BCP people who attend despite that they were children.

Putsoa said they used to disrupt Jonathan’s BNP rallies as students without Makhakhe’s command, “but BNP used to think we were sent by him”.
He said he was arrested together with Makhakhe when the Jonathan government cracked the whip.
Makhakhe was born on 8th February 1925.
His funeral service will be held tomorrow at the Maseru Club.

Nkheli Liphoto

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