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He (Kgalema) is our brother. Who told you we're related?

By unknown | Mar 05, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Words: Sibongile Mashaba Photo: Antonio Muchave

Words: Sibongile Mashaba Photo: Antonio Muchave

Here she is - South Africa's first lady - Mapula Motlanthe. After months of speculation about who the first lady is, Sowetan can exclusively reveal that this is her.

We tracked her down to Meadowlands, Soweto, yesterday, where she was attending the memorial service of her niece, Boikhutso Mokate.

Boikhutso, 13, was one of the two girls who died in the flash floods that swept through Soweto last Thursday and will be buried on Saturday. Three others, including 20-day-old baby Gift Mdakane, are still missing.

Sowetan received a tip-off yesterday from a neighbour who told us that the dead girl was related to President Kgalema Motlanthe.

So we went along to the service. Afterwards, we followed the family to their home in Dobsonville, where we were to interview Deborah Mokate, Boikhutso's mother and we established that she is Mrs Motlanthe's younger sister.

We asked to speak to other family members about the tragic death and Mapula was pointed out. When we asked how they were related to the president, Mapula seemed taken aback.

She and her sister looked at each other before Deborah said to her: "You should answer that one."

Mapula went outside to fetch their brother Pune Mokate. Pune looked surprised. Then Mapula said: "He is our brother. Who told you we were related?" she asked.

Mapula seemed to have gone underground since the media started reporting about "all the president's women".

When we asked them if the president had been to the house, Mapula replied: "He hasn't been. We only talk to him over the phone. He has a very busy schedule."

Mapula, who had introduced herself by her maiden surname Mokate, later answered to her married name when we spoke to her on the phone.

"I have nothing further to say," she said.

She spoke about the death of her niece: "It's very sad. When your child goes to school you expect him or her to come back home safe. What happened was tragic."

President Motlanthe's love life has been a topic of interest for the media recently.

He is suing Sunday World, the Sunday Independent and The Star for publishing stories linking him to Kelebogile "Lebo" Makoe.

Newspaper reports claimed he was engaged to the 24-year-old. It was further reported that Makoe was expecting their first child.

"It's okay. It's not a problem," Mapula said at the time.

Makoe had also claimed that she had been assaulted while she was out jogging and had been hospitalised at Joburg's Sunninghill Hospital. But the story turned out to be false.

She later said: "I told them what they wanted to hear."


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