Gabriel Phatlane of 187 Legoale Crescent, in Spruitview, Ekurhuleni, died on Tuesday after a long illness. He was a man of soul who was passionate about his calling as a teacher.
His death is a blow to the Spruitview community, who have lost a father, a teacher and community builder.
Phatlane was born in Lady Selbourne, Pretoria, in 1943 and obtained his Senior Certificate from Lady Selbourne High School and a Higher Primary Teachers Certificate from Batswana Training College. He completed a BA degree at Vista University and a Bachelor of Education at Wits.
He found passion in teaching and enriching the community so that they too could have a better future.
Phatlane started teaching from 1967 until 1996 when he retired - but he continued to teach and enrich other peoples' lives by educating the community.
Those who knew him called him "father of the nation" as they knew they would never go wrong when they were in his hands.
"Bra Gab", as he was popularly known, was a reserved person who loved spending time with his family and friends, and most of all educating those who were in need of an education.
He taught, among others, Amos Masondo, who is today the executive mayor of Johannesburg. He married Nomsa in 1974, and the two were blessed with three daughters Tshwanelo, Nomalanga and Mmathapelo.
He will be missed by his family, friends and the community.
Patlane will be buried on Sunday at Elspark Cemetery, Ekurhuleni. The service will be held at his home at 7.30am and the cortege will leave for the cemetery at 10am.