Man of intellect ‘Jeff’ passes on

2017-03-23 06:03

Community builder, sports administrator, preacher, philosopher, struggle stalwart and teacher Fezile “Bra Jeff” Mali has passed on.

Mali succumbed to death while recovering from an exhaustive bout of illness at the N1 Hospital last Monday.

Bra Jeff was well known in the former communities of Elsies River, Nyanga East, Nyanga West (Gugulethu), Milnerton, Cape Town and parts of the country for his sporting activities.

Up until the time of his death, he never ceased to attend community gatherings and passing on words of comfort to the bereaved in the community.

At these gatherings, he always held court in order to share with others the drinks from his well stocked calabash of wisdom and sagaciousness.

A gentle man who loved his neighbours, a humble man who would share with everyone, and an amazing soul who hated no one.

Bra Jeff came to be regarded as a man of few words but meaningful action.

One could not come across a true cadre, an individual of administrative and idealogical discipline, like him.

He was someone who was willing to give his life for the purpose of advancing the revolution, a creative leader of high standing with a good political level who placed the interest of the masses above personal interests.

Apartheid laws uprooted him from Elsies River and forced him and his family into Gugulethu.

This is one episode of inhumanity and injustice he never missed to narrate to young minds. It is true that people like Bra Jeff, become difficult to equate with the present crop of political leadership.

Accolades as that of an educator, a preacher, a peacemaker, an advisor to business people, politicians and interpreter at local government level, are befitting of a man of his prowess.

He strived for the promotion and development of the Xhosa Language, since it did not enjoy the same status of accepted use as that of English or Afrikaans.

In the late 70s, some shopkeepers approached for a presentation on a turnaround strategy for their businesses.

In earlier years, in Elsies River, he had played the role of a between warring gangs.

Bra Jeff was also known as a committed Christian, although he always jokingly referred to Jesus Christ as “that laaitie”.

He was known as a community leader that never bore grudges, but who instilled brought hope in everyone he came across.

As one of the founders of the Flying Eagles Rugby Club, he excelled as an administrator. His favourite pastime was playing cards and draughts. A remarkable player of both, people were always left in awe of the competitive spirit between him and his late son Metsi Mali.

They always seemed to reach the finals of the games together. Last year he received a Legends Award from the Western Cape Department of Sports and Cultural Affairs in recognition of his lifelong involvement in sports.

Rest In Peace, Bra Jeff!

Nozulu, Kheswa, Thukela, Mphafana, onoZulu liyasa liyasibekela, MngunI omuhle wakwa mchumane, oMpafana nina enawela uThukela umlazane onameva, oMpangazitha ubafazi bamabele made bancelisa bengaphesheya komlambo, neza nimachochombela njenge kwindla, uSuthu oluzalela izinja lunga zalela izinzule luyahlanya..

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