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Oupa Marite was a helluva American who hated 'moegoeheid' with a passion

By unknown | Jun 22, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kenosi Modisane

Kenosi Modisane

It's not always that the passing of a loved one is met with happiness and celebration, unless that individual has made a special impact on those around him.

This was my reaction and that of colleague Ali Mphaki when we received the sad news of the passing of our old friend and former colleague Hendrick Oupa "Mkaro" Marite on Tuesday morning.

You see, our friendship with Ali and Oupa dates back more than two decades when we first met in the 1980s at 61 Commando Road - where Sowetan is housed.

Oupa was a helluva ou - in deeds, in words and mannerisms. While small in physique - he dwarfed giants in many ways and always demanded respect, whether he deserved it or not.

There's one thing he hated with a passion - moegoes and moegoeheid. This simply summed up his hatred for unwise and stupid deeds.

"If klevageid(street wisdom) was rewarded with a degree, there would be few graduates of our kind," Oupa once quipped when a colleague at Sowetan, Sydney Matlhaku, failed to give him taxi fare he had promised him. Oupa had apparently run an errand for Bra Syd and was angry when he failed him.

This was the Oupa Marite I knew - fair, firm and disciplined despite all the odds.

When Oupa worked at Sowetan, Ali and I were reporters and he was placed in the administration side of the business. More than my relationship with him at Sowetan, we are homeboys and grew up together in Meadowlands Zone One where he remained until his death.

Ma-Erikan was his other name. In fact he had a funny American style shirt with these words imprinted and when asked what it meant he would revert to the Ndofaya (a Meadowlands lingua-franca way of speaking by starting words from end to beginning).

"Julle's mos almal Americans - You're all Americans," he would gesture with laughter that trickled dry wit but was sometimes loudly annoying.

For the uninitiated, the Ma-Erikan on Oupa's shirt meant in die ouens se taal - Americans.

A true American he was in his clothing style and fashion.

Marite will be buried tomorrow at Avalon Cemetery.

The service starts at 10am at 830 Tshipa Street, Zone One Meadowlands.


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