Dapper, eccentric, socialite doctor held centre stage

Dr Peter Mabe. © Unknown.
Dr Peter Mabe. © Unknown.

Monk Nkomo

Monk Nkomo

If the world were a stage, Pretoria socialite Peter Oupa Lerole Mabe would have been the self-appointed star, not taking the cue from anyone but his own script.

Or he would have been the choirmaster, bidding life with his baton to swing to his own rhythm and tune.

Mabe was killed in a car accident last Friday morning.

He loved the high life and the attention that came with it.

He livened up many a debate among friends over a drink at parties and shebeens with his larger-than-life persona and exuberance.

Talkative and argumentative, he liked to tower over his audience, always preferring to drive his point home while standing among his seated friends.

He would invariably hijack group discussions, unconcerned whether he joined in late or did not know the origins of the debate.

He would lecture his audience until those around him either ignored him or walked away. Given an opportunity to take the floor - uninvited - he rarely gave anybody a chance to have a say.

But he was a wonderful person who loved people. A man with a big heart. He was always gracious and ready to help those in need.

This humbleness emanated from his upbringing when, as a child, he sold fruit on trains in Pretoria.

Born on December 11 1947 at Lady Selborne, Pretoria, Mabe attended Hofmeyr High School in Atteridgeville, where he matriculated in 1968.

He obtained his Bachelor of Science honours degree at Fort Hare University in 1975 and qualified as a medical practitioner at the University of the Witwaters- rand in 1983.

He was a member of the PAC and served as director of repatriation for the organisation.

Always dapper, he loved suits and his jacket was always buttoned, even while he was driving.

His idiosyncrasies would raise eyebrows, such as sometimes wearing a suit without socks, exposing pale legs in dire need of ointment.

Another example was his enjoyment of top-notch Scotch whisky with Fanta orange and home-baked cakes.

The man had an incredibly sweet tooth, packed a good appetite and enjoyed cooking, especially for his friends. And so fate has robbed many of Mabe's exquisite culinary creations.

He will be buried at the Atteridgeville Old Cemetery tomorrow.

The service will be held at the local community hall from 7am to 10am.

Mabe is survived by his wife, Mahalia, five children, six sisters and three brothers.

If heaven is where Mabe is headed, he will surely be wearing his signature suit. A lily white one, if the angels insist.