Tributes pour in after death of independent legal analyst Phephelaphi Dube

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Phephelaphi Dube.
Phephelaphi Dube.
  • Tributes are pouring in for the late independent legal analyst Phephelaphi Dube. 
  • Professor Thuli Madonsela described her as a diligent and kind person. 
  • Dube's friend, legal journalist Karyn Maughan, also paid tribute to her. 

Independent legal analyst Phephelaphi Dube has died.

Paying tribute to her, Professor Thuli Madonsela described Dube as "smart, knowledgeable, diligent, kind, humble and helpful".

"I have no words to express the shock I experienced at the news of the passing of our colleague Phephelaphi 'Pepsi' Dube at such a young age. She was an amazing soul," she said.

Madonsela said Dube was always available to help out with research, to speak on social justice, the rule of law and integrity. 

"She also taught my final year constitutional law class as a guest. It was only this year that she said she could not make it as her illness had worsened. We still thought she would make it, though," she said.

"It is as if heaven is harvesting some of the best souls this season. My heart goes out to her family. Given that many of her friends, including Karyn Maughan, are inconsolable, I cannot imagine the sorrow of her family. May her sweet soul, Rest in Peace."

Maughan, a legal journalist, has described her friend as gentle-spirited, adding that she had one of the "most brilliant intellects I think I have ever come across".

Maughan also shared with News24 that Dube was passionate about issues of land reform. 

She added that Dube was not only a constitutional law expert, but she had enormous insights on a sphere of topics and a real passion on land reform.

"She was immensely brilliant. She was so smart, but a deeply humble person. She was always happy to sit and explain things, she was generous with her time. She was a natural born creature [and] she loved her daughter," Maughan said.

Meanwhile, associate professor of constitutional law at North West University, Elmien Du Plessis, said Dube always encouraged her to write, which, she said, was "something that at this moment I find so incredibly difficult, because how does one capture a soul and a friend in words?"

In her tribute to the late Dube, Du Plessis said: "Your name was given to you during a time of war that left your mother with so many questions. It was used in a novel because it was so beautiful. Phephelaphi. Where do we seek refuge?

"I hope that, in time, I can keep the memory of your story going. Find refuge. Know where we are going. My peptalk Pepsi, my fellow sufferer of imposter syndrome. We would always laugh at our ridiculous childishness of making ourselves so small, when we are really a universe in ecstatic motion.

"And promise that we will never do it again, only to sometime later Whatsapp each other, just for that confirmation that, actually, we are not faking it, we are freaking awesome.

"The past year has been full of 'hey, just checking in'. And just this week you asked me to speak to your club this morning, where I heard the tail-end of the news of your passing, praying that it wasn't you. Because Wednesday you said you were in hospital again and that you might not be able to make it this morning. Oh, how I wish it was not this true," Du Plessis said.  

"Sometimes when you needed to escape the cancer treatments' vicious side-effects, we spoke politics and of the beautiful dreams you had for your future. You always saw a future, even if every hurdle was placed before you." 

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