Grandson’s tribute moving

2017-04-05 06:03
Lerato Molemela, grandson of Dr Rantlai Petrus “Whitehead” Molemela, pays tribute to his mentor.Photo: Teboho Setena

Lerato Molemela, grandson of Dr Rantlai Petrus “Whitehead” Molemela, pays tribute to his mentor.Photo: Teboho Setena

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The husky voice of Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela, or Whitehead, as he was known, is silent. But his footprints as a pioneering entrepreneur, contractor, builder of note, football legend, administrator and father figure to all, remain.

Thousands of mourners united on to celebrate Dr Molemela’s life.

The founder of Molemela Construction and owner of Molemela Hotel, among other businesses, as well as former owner of football outfit Bloemfontein Celtic, died on 26 March at the age of 83. He received the honour of a state funeral.

Scores of people came in numbers to celebrate his life at the Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela Stadium, a sport facility renamed in his honour.

At the memorial service held Friday (31/03) at the St John Methodist Church, and funeral service at the stadium named in his honour, various speakers expressed fond memories about Molemela.

He was described in various ways: a mentor, inspiration, father figure, Christian, a fighter and hard worker, as well as an entrepreneur of note. Some referred to him as Dr Molemela, but references to him as “Ntate” captured the imagination and attention of everyone telling his or her story about the legend.

“This is the man who was never satisfied, yet fully appreciative of the smallest effort that we put in,” said grandson Lerato Molemela in his tribute to his grandfather.

“Ntate was always the harshest for those with the best potential. He was the weakest for the most vulnerable in our society.

“Throughout my life, I have known Ntate as my father and my dad as my father’s son. In my father’s home (Dr Molemela), I have no cousins, all are my brothers and sisters.

“Ntate was my boss at work, Ntate was my mentor and Ntate was my professor in the university of his own. Ntate has been my greatest inspiration, Ntate has been my tormentor.

“Tsoene engwe le engwe can attest to that. The best thing about Ntate has always been my mother, Grandmother Mamorwesi Molemela, who passed on 15 months ago. I remember her on this day of my father’s burial, my her soul rest in peace.

“If she didn’t pave the way, we could not manage to arrange our father’s funeral. I learnt and took a leaf from Ntate and I have learnt and had five priorities in life: God first, family first, work first, the people first and the struggle first.”

Mourners gave Lerato a standing ovation.

He burst into song and mourners sang along.

Lerato is the firstborn of Philemon Molemela, who is the first child of Molemela and his late wife, Mamorwesi.

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