Ruth Seopedi Motau
When someone dies at 99 we are supposed to be celebrating a long life and cherishing memories of the person we loved and knew.
Herminah Motanalo Motau was born in Modimolle, Middelfontein, in 1909.
She was the fourth of the five girls of Maemo and Matlhodi Motau.
Koko Harry, as she was affectionately known, was never married and was blessed with four children - two sons and two daughters - 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
She was a teacher and later left teaching in Modimolle to work in Johannesburg.
She retired in 1971 and started looking after her grandchildren while their parents came to work in Gauteng. For more than 20 years after her sisters had passed on, she was a grandmother and great-grandmother to all her sisters' children.
After both my paternal and maternal grandparents died, I became very close to my grandmother and we loved each other very much. Visiting her in Pankop, Hammanskraal, was like going to see her in a neighbourhood with lots of nice stuff to eat and wear.
As a photographer I took many pictures of her. When I gave her one particular portrait she was happy and said, "I will take it with me to my grave."
I was surprised when instead of her hanging it on the wall because I had framed it, it became part of my portfolio
And every time I had to present my portfolio everyone would comment on it and, with a smile, I would tell them it was my grandmother.
It is indeed a beautiful picture, one of the masterpieces of my career.
At the end of 2004 my trips to my grandmother became fewer. She would send a message asking why I was not visiting and how soon I would visit her.
About two years passed without my seeing her. But the desire to visit her grew when I heard that she could neither see nor talk.
Three weeks ago I took a trip down memory lane to Pankop to see her. As usual I bought some goodies.
I was pleased to see her but she could no longer speak. However, she still recognised my voice.
On Tuesday I got a message from my uncle that "my mom has passed away". I cried but I was glad that I had visited her recently. May her soul rest in peace. I will miss her.