Community mourns death of pioneer

2017-03-29 06:03
Victor Mahatanya, co-founding director of Bloemfontein Celtic.Photo: Teboho Setena

Victor Mahatanya, co-founding director of Bloemfontein Celtic.Photo: Teboho Setena

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The world of football and entrepreneurship mourn the death of pioneer Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela (83), who died on Sunday morning (26/03).

Whitehead, as he was popularly known, was the iconic Bloemfontein Celtic owner.

Molemela’s legacy was not solemnly centred on football.

He was also an entrepreneur who owned the Molemela Construction company which he established during the trying times of the old apartheid regime.

His legacy in sport is notable.

Molemela was a versatile bicycle rider.

This father-figure strongly believed that the daily 41 km riding of a bicycle – to get to work in Bloemfontein and back home to a farm near Sannaspos – formed the solid foundation of his love for sport.

He used to say it was something he enjoyed and no one could challenge him in racing with a bicycle.

Reaction from the football world received after his death, are all fond memories.

He was described as a hard worker with a fighting spirit, respected and with the will-power to succeed.

Victor Mahatanya, co-founding director of Bloemfontein Celtic, said: “Ntate Molemela has left a rich legacy for generations to follow. He had respect for everyone and had self-respect.

“I got to know him as a hard worker. His thriving spirit is measured not only through the establishing of a successful construction business, but he also transformed Celtic into the giant that it is today.

“That underlines the true nature of Molemela’s will to succeed.

“I am deeply hurt with his passing but we should celebrate his well-lived life.

“Molemela’s resemble a precious gift of hope, strength and grace; he was someone who has made our world a better place.”

Mahatanya is the only surviving co-founding director of Celtic, following the death of Norman Matobisa in 2012.

Molemela received presti-gious accolades for his immense contribution in football and business.

  • In 2006, the Central University of Technology ho-noured Molemela, conferring him with an honorary doctorate for his long-standing commitment to sports deve-lopment, not only in the Free State, but in South Africa as a whole. A memorial service is held on Friday (31/03) with the funeral proceedings held on Tuesday (04/04) at the Dr R.P. Molemela Stadium.

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