VIOLET Mamahadi Sixishe (née Klaaste), the former wife of the late Lesotho minister of communications, Desmond Sixishe, has died.
She will be buried tomorrow at Avalon Cemetery at 11.30am after a funeral service at Bapedi Hall in Meadowlands Zone 2, from 9am.
Sixishe was a sister of the late editor of Sowetan Aggrey Klaaste.
Fondly known as Vice, Sixishe was born in Kimberley on September 27 1938.
Sixishe grew up in Sophiatown and completed her matric at the local Madibane High School.
She left South Africa in 1966 and settled in Maseru, Lesotho, after she married the late Desmond Sixishe.
She was the heart and soul of her young family and a happy-go-lucky soul, a real party animal.
Sixishe was very hospitable and there was always room for visitors at her home in Maseru West.
Her sense of humour was out of this world and she would always have her family and visitors in stitches. She loved having a good time, always the life of any party.
The generous Sixishe and her husband Desmond were not only parents to their five biological children, Mahadi, Dineo, Tebello, Yoliswa and Andile, they also took a whole lot of other young people into their home during the bitter and difficult years of the struggle against apartheid.
Sixishe and her equally brave husband, Desmond, arranged scholarships for South African students who fled to Lesotho during the late 1970s, after the June 16 upheavals.
They remained a vital link to those who sought refugee status and their families back home. As a result, the Sixishes had their fair share of police harassment each time they crossed the border into South Africa.
Sixishe was a secretary par excellence and, among others, served Desmond Tutu for two years when he was the Bishop of Lesotho.
She also worked for the ministry of the interior while the United Nations was using that office to administer ANC scholarships.
Sixishe acquired an avid interest and love for music as both her father and brother Sol Klaaste - the first black person to graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree from Wits University - played the piano.
She was a professional violinist and also a lead vocalist for the former Ionians Choral Group under the late Professor Khabi Mngoma.
When her elder brother Sol, who was a pianist and choregrapher for the Manhattan Brothers pianist and choreographer, died in exile in London in 1981, she was the only one in her family who could travel abroad to bury him.
The trip was made possible by the generosity of the Lesotho government under then Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan at a time when it was difficult for any black South African to travel abroad.
Sixishe and her husband Desmond divorced and went their separate ways. But she ensured that her children got a good education.
She also continued to be the big sister in her ex-husband's male-dominated family, who adored hers.
Sixishe's husband, Desmond, became a cabinet minister in the government that was toppled by the military.
Desmond Sixishe and others were kidnapped and brutally murdered on the night of November 15 1996 by Major-General Metsing Lekhanya's soldiers.
Sixishe did not bear her scars for the whole world to see. She was a woman of substance with a strong character.
She is survived by her older sister Doris Ditsebe, her five children M and seven grandchildren .