Tombstone tycoon Lebohang Khitsane, of Bataung Memorial Tombstones, has died from renal failure.
The 44-year-old, who was known for designing and manufacturing extravagant tombstones for celebrities including Nelson Mandela, producer Robbie Malinga, actor Joe Mafela, kwaito star Mduduzi “Mandoza” Tshabalala and racing driver Gugu Zulu, died on Thursday morning.
His emotional daughter Tsoelopele Khitsane (20), said his passing was a big loss for the family. “Your legacy continues, long live LWK,” she said.
Two years ago, Khitsane made headlines when he gifted Tsoelopele a Porsche.
He parked her new care on the school grounds and led her to the gift. “I’m going to faint! Wait! Wait! Somebody hold me!” his daughter said in a video that went viral on social media.
The generous gift caused a stir on Twitter with some praising the gesture as fatherly love and others amazed that he did not spare any expense.
ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula came to the entrepreneur’s defence who he said did “amazing things for ordinary folks”.
Khitsane, the founder and CEO of Bataung Memorial Tombstones, was nicknamed the “Steve Jobs” of the industry.
With its head offices in Ekurhuleni and six showrooms spread across Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, his extravagant tombstones include elaborate designs, some incorporating innovations such as QR codes and Braille.
“It is with a great sadness that the Khitsane family announces the passing of Lebohang Khitsane, the CEO of the family run businesses, Bataung Memorials, Jacobs Bridge and Bataung Legacy. He died after years of fighting renal failure,” read the statement.
Khitsane was not just an entrepreneur but a leader in the funeral industry.
“We thank all our friends, family, business associates and our trusted clients for the support during this difficult time. We also plead with the public to allow us the opportunity to properly grieve. His memory will live on in our hearts forever, Robala Tau.”