‘My kebabs and roti’

2013-12-07 00:00

THERE was hardly a time that Pietermaritzburg’s Rabia Motala, the wife of the late Dr Mohammed “Chota” Motala, ever visited Nelson Mandela without taking him his favourite Indian meal of kebabs and roti.

“It was the only request he had for me: to bring him or to make some of my special kebabs and roti for him. He relished it and always spoke about it. I took it for him when we visited him at Victor Verster, when he visited us in Morocco and when he visited us here in Pietermaritzburg, when he was the president,” said Motala.

Preparing to attend Madiba’s funeral, Motala said her memories of Mandela stretched to the freedom struggle, Treason Trial and thereafter.

“He always referred to doc [Chota Motala] as umkhwenyana — son-in-law — because I was born in Transkei and he regarded me as his sister,” said the 82-year-old Motala.

Recalling the early years, Motala said Mandela and many other struggle stalwarts would often call on their Boom Street, Pietermaritzburg, home, on their way to Durban from Johannesburg.

“He always called our home his second house. There were many times he stayed over and, of course, everyone now knows of how I didn’t recognise Madiba and made him wait outside our house,” she said.

Reflecting on her time with Madiba, Motala said she was grateful for the sacrifices he had made.

“He paid the price for us to have the liberties we have today. We should honour him by never forgetting the long walk to freedom and constantly keeping his ideals in mind,” she said.

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