Langa’s Hlubi clansman rested

2015-07-23 06:02

Old man Gqiba was laid to rest on Saturday

Old man Gqiba was laid to rest on Saturday

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As the country and the international community were mesmerized in the 67 Minutes for Mandela Day on Saturday, the community of Langa laid to rest one of their last remaining legend and elder, Tat’uGqiba at their Anglican St Cyprian’s Church.

Tatugqiba was 99years old. He was born in Kingwilliam’s Town, in Zimbaba on 15 May 1916 and consequently moved to Cape Town, where he built himself a family.

Her daughter, Koti, gave us a brief history of the formidable man.

“His own father died at a very young age and because he was the eldest, was forced to assume the responsibilities of being a provider to his mother.

Largely because of this, his daily prayer to God had always been “to live longer”

And so he did. He has always had a close relationship with God and this is something he has taught his children. Respect and dignity, was his mantra to his offspring, Koti fondly remembers.

According to her, he was an astute person possessed of a sharp mind.

When he moved to Cape Town, the old man first found work with the Cape Argus as a messenger, where he would deliver newspaper to the Harbour, now known as The Port of Cape Town.

He then worked for a tobacco company as an administrator.

Upon his retirement, he found time as a general assistant at Nabe Stores in Langa.

Although not formally schooled, he was an avid reader.

“He was so eloquent in the English language; a fact that belied his limited education.”

“He loved to read and was a straight-forward person, a disciplinarian of note,” shared Koti.

In the 50’s, he played cricket for the Langa Harlequins and later enrolled to become an umpire. He will be remembered as the founder of Power Station-a reference to the two cooling towers that were a landmark to the township until they were decommissioned in 2012- a burial society that still exists even today in Langa.

A pillar of strength within the Hlubi clan, Tat’u Griba earned himself the honorific “Ah Gcinabantu!”.

According to those close to him and other associates, he was a “born-leader” and a guardian within family circles.

Geoff Mamputha remembers him as being “…older than Langa and a legend in his life-time.”

He was one remaining elder in Langa, whose association in the community was with the likes of the late- Messers Njoli, Maya, Msengana, Spelman, Mangisa, Ndarhala and Mpolongwana, who all have preceded him.

Tat’uGqiba suffered chronic ailments, and succumbed to his illness this year.

Because of his erudition, he could still tell stories to his grand and great-grand-children to the last days of his life.

As the old saying goes: “Reading stimulates the mind”.

Every generation has its stalwarts and its duds. Tat’uGqiba was the former, it goes without saying, if the values he has instilled among his peers and his children are anything to go by.

So long, Hlubi

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