Obit – Hamba kahle, Mzion

2011-07-23 20:22

Diehard Orlando Pirates supporter Mzion Mofokeng died with his feet wrapped in a blanket bearing the colours and emblem of the team he lived for.

Mofokeng (61) died of complications from high blood pressure and diabetes at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto on ­Tuesday.

He died on the day his beloved club played to a 1-1 draw against English giants Tottenham Hotspur and two days before they beat their celebrated neighbours Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 on Thursday.

While he lived, his home, house number 3550 in Zone 13, Sebokeng, in the Vaal, was not just an ordinary address.

This is where every Buccaneer worth his salt met for The Ghost’s meetings and parties to celebrate memorable victories.

To many, Mzion, real names Nale Johannes, was the face of Pirates.

But behind the black and white skeleton costume and the makarapa that endeared him to the media and football lovers, lay a man with a deep commitment to his ­community.

Mzion, the son of a reverend, was a man of prayer too, a community leader who organised sport tournaments in his hometown and a committed family man.

A few years ago, he made history by unveiling six tombstones for his departed family members on the same day.

United by their love for Pirates, he travelled the length and breadth of the country with his fellow Bucs supporters in a white 1970s VW Kombi to support the club.

Sadly, the Kombi succumbed to old age a few years ago.

Not even a hip replacement and eye operations in 2009 could stop him from going on these expeditions.

Mofokeng’s eyesight was damaged by diabetes, hence he wore spectacles.

When the winds of change ushered in the vuvuzela, Mzion stuck to his tried and tested concertina whose notes were accompanied by Pirates songs.

Mzion was also as good at quoting the Bible as he was in recalling the names of players, past and present.

He also headed the Pirates delegation that brokered peace between Bucs and Chiefs supporters in the 80s and, together with the likes of Chiefs’ Freddy “Saddam” Maake, founded the South African Football Supporters Association in 2009.

About five months ago, Mzion was honoured for his role in football. The event was themed “Siyabonga – Thanks Giving Bash”, and coincided with the 50th anniversary of his involvement and contribution to football.

That Pirates beat rivals Chiefs in the same week Mzion departed was an ideal send off for a man who “hated losing to Chiefs”.

Mzion, due to be buried in Sebokeng today, will however reunite with the legion of Bucs diehards who have gone before him.

Together with Dejan (the white fan from Serbia) and Jwara (known for his number 44 jersey) – Mzion always occupied a spot behind the goals.

But his passing means he will no longer be seen singing and ­cheering his Buccaneers from that spot.


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