Wed Oct 26 09:36:23 CAT 2016

Family squabble threatens to mar Leremi's funeral

By unknown | Sep 05, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

The grandmother of Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns player Gift Leremi has threatened to stop his father's family from burying the star.

Mirriam Matsemela, 63, pictured, told Sowetan: "My grandson will not be buried by the Leremis. Instead, he will be buried by us, the Matsemelas."

Matsemela's two-roomed shack at Orange Farm in the Vaal was filled with mourners, especially neighbours, who came to give their condolences.

The granny could not control her tears when she related how the player suddenly changed his surname from Matsemela, his mother's maiden name, to Leremi without her consent.

"I raised Gift from birth until he went to stay with his father Robbie Leremi in the 1990s," said Matsemela.

She said in 1990 she moved with Leremi to Orange Farm where he started his football career.

Matsemela said: "Gift had a dispute with his uncle and I decided to let him stay with his father in Soweto."

She said she was shocked when she saw her grandson on TV playing for Orlando Pirates using the Leremi surname.

She said Leremi's mother, Mmabatho, told her it was a joint decision by Gift and his father's that he should use the surname when he joined Pirates.

Matsemela said: "What we shared with Robbie is over. He will come to the funeral only as his father."

She said that from the time of Gift's birth in 1984, his father had not taken care of him. Yet he boasted about his success.

She said Gift's father had never even paid ilobolo or damages after impregnating her daughter or when changing Gift's surname.

She said she last saw her grandson two months ago in Soweto during his traditional ceremony. Leremi told her he was going to finish her four-roomed house he had built for her.

Leremi died on Monday night in an accident in Alberton, Ekurhuleni. It was reported that he was flung metres out of his BMW.

Leremi joined Pirates senior team after being promoted from its junior ranks.

He donned the national team jersey when he represented both the under-23 and Bafana-Bafana four times.

Leremi made headlines with his uncontrollable off-the-pitch behaviour. He joined Mamelodi Sundowns this season and had scored two goals for his new employers.

He was expected to play against his former team during the SAA super eight final before his death.


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