Your Dad always knew he could trust you

Horatio Motjuwadi pays tribute to his son

Horatio Motjuwadi pays tribute to his son

I have lost my son Martin Ngwato Motjuwadi.

We fought - and I give everything in an encounter. But his demeanour meant, most of the time, that he would be forgiven. He would get away with a mere tongue-lashing and say "hey mate, time you looked at things differently". Indeed, his disarming demeanour made him a winner all round.

Only once in his 31 years did I give him a bit of a hiding. He was 14 and making it a habit of walking in and out of the Motjuwadi household as though he was its only inhabitant. Letters from school arrived; home- work, dish washing etal were neglected.

But as kids are wont to do, the little rascal was always scheming to be ahead of us. Even at that young age he knew, however, when it was time to march on.

Then he became a man and opted to become a soldier.

"This country needs men like me, unafraid and smart," he said with an attitude.

Indeed, he integrated with flying colours, rising to become an officer in the SANDF before declaring in 2002: "I'm finished with the force - can't stand it anymore."

It was the same attitude me and my brethren had got to know. I was to learn from his siblings that he was overbearing outside home. He had the gumption to tell his childhood friend Thabo Makhanya that "I don't want to see you here [in the township] until you complete your B Com because I don't keep half-baked friends".

I also learnt this week that, to his friends, he was like a mafiosa boss. His word was final. He never suffered fools gladly.

To me, though, he was someone you could entrust with the most sensitive information and sleep like he is now. He would not rat on anybody. That's what set him apart from most people I know.

He had this expressionless face that immediately told you you had to make sense to get a hearing. Fortunately, I see all these traits in his little boy, Thato. Full of bounce, a questioning mind and, yes, deceptively tough.

Motjuwadi will be buried tomorrow at Sterkfontein Cemetery after a service at St Luke's Methodist Church in Wilro Park from 8.15am.

Robala Ka Khutso Ngwato.